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Front Syst Neurosci. 2015 Mar 16;9:37. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2015.00037. eCollection 2015.

Theta variation and spatiotemporal scaling along the septotemporal axis of the hippocampus.

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Behavioral Neuroscience Division, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut Storrs, CT, USA.
Neural Systems Lab, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University Boston, MA, USA.


Hippocampal theta has been related to locomotor speed, attention, anxiety, sensorimotor integration and memory among other emergent phenomena. One difficulty in understanding the function of theta is that the hippocampus (HPC) modulates voluntary behavior at the same time that it processes sensory input. Both functions are correlated with characteristic changes in theta indices. The current review highlights a series of studies examining theta local field potential (LFP) signals across the septotemporal or longitudinal axis of the HPC. While the theta signal is coherent throughout the entirety of the HPC, the amplitude, but not the frequency, of theta varies significantly across its three-dimensional expanse. We suggest that the theta signal offers a rich vein of information about how distributed neuronal ensembles support emergent function. Further, we speculate that emergent function across the long axis varies with respect to spatiotemporal scale. Thus, septal HPC processes details of the proximal spatiotemporal environment while more temporal aspects process larger spaces and wider time-scales. The degree to which emergent functions are supported by the synchronization of theta across the septotemporal axis is an open question. Our working model is that theta synchrony serves to bind ensembles representing varying resolutions of spatiotemporal information at interdependent septotemporal areas of the HPC. Such synchrony and cooperative interactions along the septotemporal axis likely support memory formation and subsequent consolidation and retrieval.


dorsoventral axis; entorhinal cortex; hippocampus; locomotor activity; sensorimotor integration; septotemporal axis; theta oscillations

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