Infra‐slow modulation of fast beta/gamma oscillations in the mouse visual system

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Infra‐slow (<0.02 Hz) and fast beta/gamma (20–100 Hz) oscillations in neurophysiological activity have been widely found in the subcortical visual system. While it is well established that fast beta/gamma oscillations are involved in visual processing, the role (if any) of infra‐slow oscillations is currently unknown. One possibility is that infra‐slow oscillations exert influence by modulating the amplitude of fast oscillations, yet the extent to which these different oscillations arise independently and interact remains unknown. We addressed these questions by recording in vivo spontaneous activity from the subcortical visual system of visually intact mice, and animals whose retinal network was disrupted by advanced rod/cone degeneration (rd/rd cl) or melanopsin loss (Opn4–/–). We found many neurons expressing only one type of oscillation, and indeed fast oscillations were absent in rd/rd cl. Conversely, neurons co‐expressing the two oscillations were also common, and were encountered more often than expected by chance in visually intact but not Opn4–/– mice. Finally, where they co‐occurred we found that beta/gamma amplitude was modulated by the infra‐slow rhythm. Our data thus reveal that: (1) infra‐slow and beta‐gamma oscillations are separable phenomena; and (2) that they actively co‐occur in a subset of neurones in which the phase of infra‐slow oscillations defines beta‐gamma oscillations amplitude. These findings suggest that infra‐slow oscillations could influence vision by modulating beta‐gamma oscillations, and raise the possibility that disruptions in these oscillatory behaviours contribute to vision dysfunction in retinal dystrophy.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of physiology
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021