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Gamma oscillations in the auditory cortex of awake rats


  • Paulo Vianney-Rodrigues,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA
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    • Present address: University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, 3400 Spruce – 5 Ravdin, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  • Ovidiu D. Iancu,

    1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA
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  • John P. Welsh

    1. Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Center for Integrative Brain Research, Seattle, WA, USA
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Dr P. Vianney-Rodrigues, *present address below.


Numerous reports of human electrophysiology have demonstrated gamma (30–150 Hz) frequency oscillations in the auditory cortex during listening. However, only a small number of studies in non-human animals have provided evidence for gamma oscillations during listening. In this report, multi-site recordings from primary auditory cortex (A1) were carried out using a 16-channel microelectrode array in awake rats as they passively listened to tones. We addressed two fundamental questions: (i) Is passive listening associated with an increase in gamma oscillation in A1? And, if so: (ii) Are A1 gamma oscillations during passive listening coherent within local networks and/or over long distances? All sites within A1 showed a short-latency burst of activity in the low-gamma (30–70 Hz) and high-gamma (90–150 Hz) bands in the local field potential (LFP). Additionally, 53% of sites within A1 also showed longer-latency bursts of gamma oscillation that occurred episodically for up to 350 ms after tone onset, but these varied both in latency and in occurrence across trials. There was significant coherence in the low-gamma band between spike activity and the LFP recorded with the same electrode. However, neither LFPs nor the spike activity between sites spaced at least 300 μm apart showed coherent activity in the gamma band. The experiments demonstrated that gamma oscillations are present, but not uniformly expressed, throughout A1 during passive listening and that there is strong local coherence in the spatiotemporal organization of gamma activity.

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