Saturday, August 8, 2009

How gamma oscillations sync the amygdala and striatum during learning

A study conducted by Popescu, Popa, and Pare investigated the underlying mechanism driving amygdalostriatal interactions during memory formation. The impetus for this study came from an interest in studies implicating the basolateral amygdala (BLA) activity in the facilitation of striatal-dependent memories in emotional arousal.

They measured unit and local field potential recordings from the BLA, striatum, auditory cortex, and intralaminar thalamus of cats trained on a stimulus-response task where the presentation of one or two tones predicted reward delivery and found that gamma oscillations originating from the BLA coordinated amygdalostriatal interactions more so than oscillations in other frequency bands. In addition, the coherence of CS-evoked BLA striatial gamma increased along with improvements in behavioral performance during a striatal-dependent stimulus-response task.

The authors suggest that this process may facilitate synaptic plasticity along with other underlying mechanisms.

Popescu AT, Popa D, & Paré D (2009). Coherent gamma oscillations couple the amygdala and striatum during learning. Nature neuroscience PMID: 19430471

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