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Different theta frameworks coexist in the rat hippocampus and are coordinated during memory-guided and novelty tasks.

Víctor J López-Madrona, Elena Pérez-Montoyo, Efrén Álvarez-Salvado, David Moratal, Oscar Herreras, Ernesto Pereda, Claudio R Mirasso, Santiago Canals.

eLife 2020; 9:e57313.
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.57313
Published: 20 Jul 2020

Hippocampal firing is organized in theta sequences controlled by internal memory processes and by external sensory cues, but how these computations are coordinated is not fully understood. Although theta activity is commonly studied as a unique coherent oscillation, it is the result of complex interactions between different rhythm generators. Here, by separating hippocampal theta activity in three different current generators, we found epochs with variable theta frequency and phase coupling, suggesting flexible interactions between theta generators. We found that epochs of highly synchronized theta rhythmicity preferentially occurred during behavioral tasks requiring coordination between internal memory representations and incoming sensory information. In addition, we found that gamma oscillations were associated with specific theta generators and the strength of theta-gamma coupling predicted the synchronization between theta generators. We propose a mechanism for segregating or integrating hippocampal computations based on the flexible coordination of different theta frameworks to accommodate the cognitive needs.



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