Hippocampal rhythm generation: gamma-related theta-frequency resonance in CA3 interneurons.


During different behavioral states different population activities are present in the hippocampal formation. These activities are not independent: sharp waves often occur together with high-frequency ripples, and gamma-frequency activity is usually superimposed on theta oscillations. There is both experimental and theoretical evidence supporting the notion that gamma oscillation is generated intrahippocampally, but there is no generally accepted view about the origin of theta waves. Precise timing of population bursts of pyramidal cells may be due to a synchronized external drive. Membrane potential oscillations recorded in the septum are unlikely to fulfill this purpose because they are not coherent enough. We investigated the prospects of an intrahippocampal mechanism supplying pyramidal cells with theta frequency periodic inhibition, by studying a model of a network of hippocampal inhibitory interneurons. As shown previously, interneulrons are capable of generating synchronized gamnma-requency action potential oscillations. Exciting the neurons by periodic current injection, the system could either be entrained in an oscillation with the frequency of the inducing current or exhibit in-phase periodic changes at the frequency of single cell (and network) activity. Simulations that used spatially inhomogeneous stimulus currents showed antiphase frequency changes across cells, which resulted in a periodic decrease in the synchrony of the network. As this periodic change in synchrony occurred in the theta frequency range, our network should be able to exhibit the theta-frequency weakening of inhibition of pyramidal cells, thus offering a possible mechanism for intrahippocampal theta generation.