Special Issue Review
The highs and lows of beta activity in cortico-basal ganglia loops
Version of Record online: 3 APR 2014
© 2014 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
European Journal of Neuroscience
Special Issue: EDITORS' ISSUE 2014
Volume 39, Issue 11, pages 1951–1959, June 2014
How to Cite
Brittain, J.-S., Sharott, A. and Brown, P. (2014), The highs and lows of beta activity in cortico-basal ganglia loops. European Journal of Neuroscience, 39: 1951–1959. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12574
- Issue online: 1 JUN 2014
- Version of Record online: 3 APR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 26 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 24 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Received: 15 NOV 2013
- Medical Research Council
- NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre
- basal ganglia;
- beta activity;
- information transfer;
- Parkinson's disease;
Oscillatory activity in the beta (13–30 Hz) frequency band is widespread in cortico-basal ganglia circuits, and becomes prominent in Parkinson's disease (PD). Here we develop the hypothesis that the degree of synchronization in this frequency band is a critical factor in gating computation across a population of neurons, with increases in beta band synchrony entailing a loss of information-coding space and hence computational capacity. Task and context drive this dynamic gating, so that for each state there will be an optimal level of network synchrony, and levels lower or higher than this will impair behavioural performance. Thus, both the pathological exaggeration of synchrony, as observed in PD, and the ability of interventions like deep brain stimulation (DBS) to excessively suppress synchrony can potentially lead to impairments in behavioural performance. Indeed, under physiological conditions, the manipulation of computational capacity by beta activity may itself present a mechanism of action selection and maintenance.