Event Abstract

Do different frequencies of gamma rhythms regulate memory processing in the brain?

  • 1 Center for Learning and Memory, University of Texas at Austin, United States
  • 2 Centre for the Biology of Memory/Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

Our brains are composed of billions of cells that somehow coordinate their activity to generate our perceptions of the world around us and our memories of past experiences. One way in which cells are thought to achieve this is by periodically synchronizing their electrical activity to produce brain rhythms. Gamma rhythms are a particular class of rhythms that occur throughout many regions of the brain, and their occurrence has been linked to functions such as sensory perception, attention, and memory. Gamma rhythms vary tremendously in frequency (from ~25 Hz to nearly 150 Hz) from one brain region to another and also within a given brain region from one moment to the next. The exact frequency of rhythms is important because different areas will communicate most effectively when the timing of their rhythms is the same. We recently discovered evidence in freely behaving rats that gamma frequency variations have functional significance in the hippocampus, a brain region critically involved in memory operations. Slow gamma (~40 Hz) rhythms synchronize hippocampal subregion CA1 with neighboring subfield CA3, an area required for memory retrieval. Fast gamma (~100 Hz) rhythms couple CA1 to the entorhinal cortex, a region that provides information about the current environment. We propose that slow gamma rhythms may facilitate internal channels of information such as memories of past experiences and that fast gamma rhythms may be involved in focusing attention on the external world during encoding of sensory information. Separation of these two streams of information using different gamma frequencies may help distinguish present experiences from memories of the past.

Keywords: Gamma rhythms, neuronal oscillations

Conference: XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI), Palma, Mallorca, Spain, 25 Sep - 29 Sep, 2011.

Presentation Type: Symposium: Oral Presentation

Topic: Symposium 3: The role of neuronal oscillations in computation and communication in multi-scale brain networks

Citation: Colgin LL, Ito H, Moser M and Moser EI (2011). Do different frequencies of gamma rhythms regulate memory processing in the brain?. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: XI International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON XI). doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2011.207.00022

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Received: 09 Nov 2011; Published Online: 15 Nov 2011.

* Correspondence: Dr. Laura L Colgin, Center for Learning and Memory, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, United States, colgin@mail.clm.utexas.edu

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