Medial prefrontal theta phase coupling during spatial memory retrieval

Authors

  • Raphael Kaplan,

    Corresponding author
    1. NIMH-UCL Joint Neuroscience Graduate Partnership Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    2. Section on Functional Imaging Methods, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
    3. University College London, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, United Kingdom
    4. University College London, Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
    • Correspondence to: Raphael Kaplan, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, United Kingdom. E-mail: raphael.kaplan.09@ucl.ac.uk or Neil Burgess, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR, United Kingdom. E-mail: n.burgess@ucl.ac.uk

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    • R.K. and D.B contributed equally to this work.

  • Daniel Bush,

    1. University College London, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, United Kingdom
    2. University College London, Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
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    • R.K. and D.B contributed equally to this work.

  • Mathilde Bonnefond,

    1. Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Peter A. Bandettini,

    1. Section on Functional Imaging Methods, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
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  • Gareth R. Barnes,

    1. University College London, Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
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  • Christian F. Doeller,

    1. Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Neil Burgess

    Corresponding author
    1. University College London, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, United Kingdom
    2. University College London, Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom
    • Correspondence to: Raphael Kaplan, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, United Kingdom. E-mail: raphael.kaplan.09@ucl.ac.uk or Neil Burgess, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR, United Kingdom. E-mail: n.burgess@ucl.ac.uk

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ABSTRACT

Memory retrieval is believed to involve a disparate network of areas, including medial prefrontal and medial temporal cortices, but the mechanisms underlying their coordination remain elusive. One suggestion is that oscillatory coherence mediates inter-regional communication, implicating theta phase and theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling in mnemonic function across species. To examine this hypothesis, we used non-invasive whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) as participants retrieved the location of objects encountered within a virtual environment. We demonstrate that, when participants are cued with the image of an object whose location they must subsequently navigate to, there is a significant increase in 4–8 Hz theta power in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and the phase of this oscillation is coupled both with ongoing theta phase in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and perceptually induced 65–85 Hz gamma amplitude in medial parietal cortex. These results suggest that theta phase coupling between mPFC and MTL and theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling between mPFC and neocortical regions may play a role in human spatial memory retrieval. © 2014 The Authors. Hippocampus Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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