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Hippocampus. 2003;13(1):38-47.

Effect of halothane on type 2 immobility-related hippocampal theta field activity and theta-on/theta-off cell discharges.

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Department of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience Research Group, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Rats were studied in acute and chronic (freely moving) recording conditions during exposure to different levels of the volatile anesthetic halothane, in order to assess effects on hippocampal theta field activity in the chronic condition and on theta-related cellular discharges in the acute condition. Previous work has shown that the generation of hippocampal type 2 theta depends on the coactivation of cholinergic and GABAergic inputs from the medial septum. Based on these data and recent findings that halothane acts on interneuron GABA(A) receptors, we predicted that exposure of rats to subanesthetic levels would result in the induction of type 2 theta field activity. In the chronic condition, exposure to subanesthetic levels of halothane (0.5-1.0 vol %) was found to induce theta field activity during periods of immobility (type 2 theta) with a mean increase of 39% in amplitude (mV) compared to control levels during movement. The total percentage of signal power (V2) associated with peak theta frequencies (80% compared to control levels of 47%) was also increased by halothane. Over the whole range of administered halothane concentrations, theta field frequency progressively declined from a mean peak frequency of 6.5 +/- 0.8 Hz at 0.5 vol % halothane to a mean peak frequency of 4.0 +/- 1.8 Hz at 2.0 vol % halothane. Subsequent administration of a muscarinic cholinergic antagonist, atropine sulfate, selectively abolished all type 2 immobility-related theta field activity, while type 1 movement-related theta was still intact. At anesthetic levels (1.5-2.0 vol %) in acute experiments, hippocampal field activity spontaneously cycled between theta and large-amplitude irregular activity. Analysis of depth profiles in four experiments revealed they were identical to those previously described for rats under urethane anesthesia conditions. In addition, the discharge properties of 31 theta-related cells, classified as tonic and phasic theta-on and tonic and phasic theta-off cells, did not differ significantly from those described previously in rats anesthetized with urethane. These data provide further support for an involvement of GABA(A) receptors in the generation of hippocampal theta.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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