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Synchronization of neuronal activity in the visual cortex at low (30-70 Hz) and high gamma band frequencies (> 70 Hz) has been associated with distinct visual processes, but mechanisms underlying high-frequency gamma oscillations remain unknown. In rat visual cortex slices, kainate and carbachol induce high-frequency gamma oscillations (fast-gamma; peak frequency approximately 80 Hz at 37 degrees C) that can coexist with low-frequency gamma oscillations (slow-gamma; peak frequency approximately 50 Hz at 37 degrees C) in the same column. Current-source density analysis showed that fast-gamma was associated with rhythmic current sink-source sequences in layer III and slow-gamma with rhythmic current sink-source sequences in layer V. Fast-gamma and slow-gamma were not phase-locked. Slow-gamma power fluctuations were unrelated to fast-gamma power fluctuations, but were modulated by the phase of theta (3-8 Hz) oscillations generated in the deep layers. Fast-gamma was spatially less coherent than slow-gamma. Fast-gamma and slow-gamma were dependent on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)(A) receptors, alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors and gap-junctions, their frequencies were reduced by thiopental and were weakly dependent on cycle amplitude. Fast-gamma and slow-gamma power were differentially modulated by thiopental and adenosine A(1) receptor blockade, and their frequencies were differentially modulated by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, GluK1 subunit-containing receptors and persistent sodium currents. Our data indicate that fast-gamma and slow-gamma both depend on and are paced by recurrent inhibition, but have distinct pharmacological modulation profiles. The independent co-existence of fast-gamma and slow-gamma allows parallel processing of distinct aspects of vision and visual perception. The visual cortex slice provides a novel in vitro model to study cortical high-frequency gamma oscillations.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Neurosci

Publication Date





1435 - 1445


Adenosine A1 Receptor Antagonists, Animals, Central Nervous System Agents, Gap Junctions, Male, Microelectrodes, Periodicity, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Receptor, Adenosine A1, Receptors, AMPA, Receptors, GABA-A, Receptors, Kainic Acid, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Sodium Channels, Temperature, Theta Rhythm, Visual Cortex