- Reward Expectancy Strengthens CA1 Theta and Beta Band Synchronization and Hippocampal-Ventral Striatal Coupling
- The Journal of Neuroscience
- Volume | Issue number
- 36 | 41
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
The use of information from the hippocampal memory system in motivated behavior depends on its communication with the ventral striatum. When an animal encounters cues that signal subsequent reward, its reward expectancy is raised. It is unknown, however, how this process affects hippocampal dynamics and their influence on target structures, such as ventral striatum. We show that, in rats, reward-predictive cues result in enhanced hippocampal theta and beta band rhythmic activity during subsequent action, compared with uncued goal-directed navigation. The beta band component, also labeled theta's harmonic, involves selective hippocampal CA1 cell groups showing frequency doubling of firing periodicity relative to theta rhythmicity and it partitions the theta cycle into segments showing clear versus poor spike timing organization. We found that theta phase precession occurred over a wider range than previously reported. This was apparent from spikes emitted near the peak of the theta cycle exhibiting large "phase precessing jumps" relative to spikes in foregoing cycles. Neither this phenomenon nor the regular manifestation of theta phase precession was affected by reward expectancy. Ventral striatal neuronal firing phase-locked not only to hippocampal theta, but also to beta band activity. Both hippocampus and ventral striatum showed increased synchronization between neuronal firing and local field potential activity during cued compared with uncued goal approaches. These results suggest that cue-triggered reward expectancy intensifies hippocampal output to target structures, such as the ventral striatum, by which the hippocampus may gain prioritized access to systems modulating motivated behaviors.
Here we show that temporally discrete cues raising reward expectancy enhance both theta and beta band activity in the hippocampus once goal-directed navigation has been initiated. These rhythmic activities are associated with increased synchronization of neuronal firing patterns in the hippocampus and the connected ventral striatum. When transmitted to downstream target structures, this expectancy-related state of intensified processing in the hippocampus may modulate goal-directed action.
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