Beta-frequency (15–35Hz) electroencephalogram activities elicited by toluene and electrical stimulation in the behaving rat
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Bursts of beta-frequency (15-35 Hz) electroencephalogram activity occur in the olfactory system during odour sampling, but their mode of propagation within the olfactory system and potential contribution to the mechanisms of learning and memory are unclear. We have elicited large-amplitude beta activity in the rat olfactory system by applying noxious olfactory stimuli (toluene), and have monitored the bursts via chronically-implanted electrodes. Following exposure to toluene, coherent bursts with a peak frequency of 19.8 +/- 0.9 Hz were observed in the olfactory bulb, piriform cortex, entorhinal cortex and dentate gyrus. The timing of the bursts and the phases of electroencephalogram cross-spectra indicate that beta bursts propagate in a caudal direction from the olfactory bulb to the entorhinal cortex. The time delays between peaks of bursts in these structures were similar to latency differences for field potentials evoked by olfactory bulb or piriform cortex test-pulses. Peaks of burst cycles in the dentate region, however, were observed just prior to those in the entorhinal cortex. Surprisingly, power in toluene-induced beta-frequency oscillations was not increased following long-term potentiation induced by tetanic stimulation of the olfactory bulb, piriform cortex and entorhinal cortex. The activity of local inhibitory mechanisms may therefore counteract the effects of synaptic enhancements in afferent pathways during beta bursts. Low-frequency electrical stimulation of the piriform cortex was most effective in inducing coherent oscillatory responses in the entorhinal cortex and dentate gyrus at stimulation frequencies between 12 and 16 Hz. The results show that repetitive polysynaptic volleys at frequencies in the beta band induced by either toluene or electrical stimulation are transmitted readily within the olfactory system. The propagation of neural activity within this frequency range may therefore contribute to the transmission of olfactory signals to the hippocampal formation, particularly for those odours which induce high-amplitude bursts of beta activity.
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