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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Mar 8;102(10):3863-8. Epub 2005 Feb 28.

Theta oscillations and sensorimotor performance.

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Department of Psychology, Institute for Mind and Biology, University of Chicago, 940 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Performance and cognitive effort in humans have recently been related to amplitude and multisite coherence of alpha (7-12 Hz) and theta (4-7 Hz) band electroencephalogram oscillations. I examined this phenomenon in rats by using theta band oscillations of the local field potential to signify sniffing as a sensorimotor process. Olfactory bulb (OB) theta oscillations are coherent with those in the dorsal hippocampus (HPC) during odor sniffing in a two-odor olfactory discrimination task. Coherence is restricted to the high-frequency theta band (6-12 Hz) associated with directed sniffing in the OB and type 1 theta in the HPC. Coherence and performance fluctuate on a time scale of several minutes. Coherence magnitude is positively correlated with performance in the two-odor condition but not in extended runs of single odor conditional-stimulus-positive trials. Simultaneous with enhanced OB-HPC theta band coherence during odor sniffing is a significant decrease in lateral entorhinal cortex (EC)-HPC and OB-EC coherence, suggesting that linkage of the olfactory and hippocampal theta rhythms is not through the synaptic relay from OB to HPC in the lateral EC. OB-HPC coupling at the sniffing frequency is proposed as a mechanism underlying olfactory sensorimotor effort as a cognitive process.

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