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Exp Brain Res. 2014 May;232(5):1509-22. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3794-8. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

Gamma band activity in the RAS-intracellular mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, Center for Translational Neuroscience, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Slot 847, 4301 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR, 72205, USA, GarciaRillEdgar@uams.edu.

Erratum in

  • Exp Brain Res. 2014 May;232(5):1523.

Abstract

Gamma band activity participates in sensory perception, problem solving, and memory. This review considers recent evidence showing that cells in the reticular activating system (RAS) exhibit gamma band activity, and describes the intrinsic membrane properties behind such manifestation. Specifically, we discuss how cells in the mesopontine pedunculopontine nucleus, intralaminar parafascicular nucleus, and pontine SubCoeruleus nucleus dorsalis all fire in the gamma band range when maximally activated, but no higher. The mechanisms involve high-threshold, voltage-dependent P/Q-type calcium channels, or sodium-dependent subthreshold oscillations. Rather than participating in the temporal binding of sensory events as in the cortex, gamma band activity in the RAS may participate in the processes of preconscious awareness and provide the essential stream of information for the formulation of many of our actions. We address three necessary next steps resulting from these discoveries: an intracellular mechanism responsible for maintaining gamma band activity based on persistent G-protein activation, separate intracellular pathways that differentiate between gamma band activity during waking versus during REM sleep, and an intracellular mechanism responsible for the dysregulation in gamma band activity in schizophrenia. These findings open several promising research avenues that have not been thoroughly explored. What are the effects of sleep or REM sleep deprivation on these RAS mechanisms? Are these mechanisms involved in memory processing during waking and/or during REM sleep? Does gamma band processing differ during waking versus REM sleep after sleep or REM sleep deprivation?

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