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J Neurophysiol. 2003 Dec;90(6):3921-30. Epub 2003 Aug 13.

Beta and gamma oscillations in the olfactory system of the urethane-anesthetized rat.

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Neuroscience Training Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Fast oscillations in the beta (15-40 Hz in awake rats) and gamma (50-100 Hz) frequency ranges are prominent in field potentials induced by odorants in the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB) and piriform cortex (PC). Whereas the gamma oscillation has been studied for >50 yr, the beta oscillation has attracted attention only recently, and its origin, mechanism, and relationship to gamma are unknown. To address these questions, we have examined responses induced by odorants in the urethane-anesthetized rat-a preparation well-suited for the analysis of mechanisms. We found that both oscillations could be induced by odorants in a concentration-dependent manner. Analysis with a concentration series and spectral methods revealed that the beta and gamma oscillations were distinct and not harmonically related, indicating generation by independent mechanisms. The beta oscillation was synchronous at sites < or =4 mm apart in the OB, the greatest distance tested. In contrast, the gamma oscillation was synchronous in some experiments and asynchronous in others (frequency differed slightly at different sites, resulting in progressive phase shifts). Current source-density analysis indicated that, for both oscillations, the field potentials in the OB were generated by synaptic currents in granule cells. The two oscillations were differently affected by surgical interruption of the lateral olfactory tract. This lesion abolished the beta oscillation, whereas the gamma oscillation was still induced in the OB. Our results confirm previous reports that the gamma oscillation is generated within the OB but indicate that the beta oscillation requires the participation of PC.

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