Beta frequency neuronal network activity in the primary motor cortex

  • Naoki Yamawaki

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In this study I investigated the mechanisms of neuronal network oscillatory activity in rat M1 using pharmacological manipulations and electrical stimulation protocols, employing the in vitro brain slice technique in rat and magnetoencephalography (MEG) in man. Co-application of kainic acid and carbachol generated in vitro beta oscillatory activity in all layers in M1. Analyses indicated that oscillations originated from deep layers and indicated significant involvement of GABAA receptors and gap junctions. A modulatory role of GABAB, NMDA, and dopamine receptors was also evident. Intracellular recordings from fast-spiking (FS) GABAergic inhibitory cells revealed phase-locked action potentials (APs) on every beta cycle. Glutamatergic excitatory regular-spiking (RS) and intrinsically-bursting (IB) cells both received phase locked inhibitory postsynaptic potentials, but did not fire APs on every cycle, suggesting the dynamic involvement of different pools of neurones in the overall population oscillations. Stimulation evoked activity at high frequency (HFS; 125Hz) evoked gamma oscillations and reduced ongoing beta activity. 20Hz stimulation promoted theta or gamma oscillations whilst 4Hz stimulation enhanced beta power at theta frequency. I also investigated the modulation of pathological slow wave (theta and beta) oscillatory activity using magnetoencephalography. Abnormal activity was suppressed by sub-sedative doses of GABAA receptor modulator zolpidem and the observed desynchronising effect correlated well with improved sensorimotor function. These studies indicate a fundamental role for inhibitory neuronal networks in the patterning beta activity and suggest that cortical HFS in PD re-patterns abnormally enhanced M1 network activity by modulating the activity of FS cells. Furthermore, pathological oscillation may be common to many neuropathologies and may be an important future therapeutic target.
Date of AwardJan 2009
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorIan M Stanford (Supervisor) & Gavin L Woodhall (Supervisor)


  • oscillations
  • interneurones
  • inhibitory postsynaptic potentials
  • magnetoencephalography
  • zolpidem

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