Fast oscillations in cortical-striatal networks switch frequency following rewarding events and stimulant drugs


Dr J. D. Berke, as above.


Oscillations may organize communication between components of large-scale brain networks. Although gamma-band oscillations have been repeatedly observed in cortical-basal ganglia circuits, their functional roles are not yet clear. Here I show that, in behaving rats, distinct frequencies of ventral striatal local field potential oscillations show coherence with different cortical inputs. The ∼50 Hz gamma oscillations that normally predominate in awake ventral striatum are coherent with piriform cortex, whereas ∼80–100 Hz high-gamma oscillations are coherent with frontal cortex. Within striatum, entrainment to gamma rhythms is selective to fast-spiking interneurons, with distinct fast-spiking interneuron populations entrained to different gamma frequencies. Administration of the psychomotor stimulant amphetamine or the dopamine agonist apomorphine causes a prolonged decrease in ∼50 Hz power and increase in ∼80–100 Hz power. The same frequency switch is observed for shorter epochs spontaneously in awake, undrugged animals and is consistently provoked for < 1 s following reward receipt. Individual striatal neurons can participate in these brief high-gamma bursts with, or without, substantial changes in firing rate. Switching between discrete oscillatory states may allow different modes of information processing during decision-making and reinforcement-based learning, and may also be an important systems-level process by which stimulant drugs affect cognition and behavior.