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Neuroscience. 2008 Jan 24;151(2):386-95. Epub 2007 Nov 1.

Pharmacologically induced and stimulus evoked rhythmic neuronal oscillatory activity in the primary motor cortex in vitro.

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  • 1Biomedical Sciences, School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with enhanced synchronization of neuronal network activity in the beta (15-30 Hz) frequency band across several nuclei of the basal ganglia (BG). Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) appears to reduce this pathological oscillation, thereby alleviating PD symptoms. However, direct stimulation of primary motor cortex (M1) has recently been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms in PD, suggesting a role for cortex in patterning pathological rhythms. Here, we examine the properties of M1 network oscillations in coronal slices taken from rat brain. Oscillations in the high beta frequency range (layer 5, 27.8+/-1.1 Hz, n=6) were elicited by co-application of the glutamate receptor agonist kainic acid (400 nM) and muscarinic receptor agonist carbachol (50 microM). Dual extracellular recordings, local application of tetrodotoxin and recordings in M1 micro-sections indicate that the activity originates within deep layers V/VI. Beta oscillations were unaffected by specific AMPA receptor blockade, abolished by the GABA type A receptor (GABA(A)R) antagonist picrotoxin and the gap-junction blocker carbenoxolone, and modulated by pentobarbital and zolpidem indicating dependence on networks of GABAergic interneurons and electrical coupling. High frequency stimulation (HFS) at 125 Hz in superficial layers, designed to mimic transdural/transcranial stimulation, generated gamma oscillations in layers II and V (incidence 95%, 69.2+/-7.3 Hz, n=17) with very fast oscillatory components (VFO; 100-250 Hz). Stimulation at 4 Hz, however, preferentially promoted theta activity (incidence 62.5%, 5.1+/-0.6 Hz, n=15) that effected strong amplitude modulation of ongoing beta activity. Stimulation at 20 Hz evoked mixed theta and gamma responses. These data suggest that within M1, evoked theta, gamma and fast oscillations may coexist with and in some cases modulate pharmacologically induced beta oscillations.

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