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J Neurophysiol. 2007 Aug;98(2):898-910. Epub 2007 May 23.

EEG sharp waves and sparse ensemble unit activity in the macaque hippocampus.

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Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.


Neural unit activity and EEGs were recorded from inferior temporal regions of three rhesus macaques chronically implanted with "hyperdrives" holding 12 individually movable tetrodes. Recordings were made from each monkey over a period of approximately 3 mo, while the electrodes were moved by small increments through the hippocampus and neighboring structures. After recording, the monkeys were necropsied, and the brains were sectioned and Nissl-stained, permitting identification of individual electrode tracks. The results establish that hippocampal pyramidal cells are "complex spike cells," firing at overall average rates of approximately 0.3 Hz, with spike trains consisting of long periods of silence interspersed with bursts of activity. The results also establish that the monkey hippocampal EEG shows "sharp wave" events consisting of a high-frequency "ripple" oscillation ( approximately 110 Hz) together with a large slow-wave EEG deflection lasting several hundred milliseconds. The evidence suggests that monkey sharp waves are probably generated mainly in the CA1 region and that sharp waves are associated with an inactive/drowsy-or-sleeping behavioral state, which is also associated with increased hippocampal pyramidal cell activity and increased hippocampal EEG amplitude. The results of this initial study of ensembles of primate hippocampal neurons are consistent with previous studies in rodents and consistent with the hypothesis that theories and models of hippocampal memory function developed on the basis of rat data may be applicable to a wide range of mammalian species.

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