The Gamma Buzz: Gluing by Oscillations in the Waking Brain
The most characteristic field pattern of the waking, activated neocortex is gamma oscillation. Its generation depends on the time decay of GABAA-receptor-mediated Laurent inhibition and/or shunting. These receptors are uniformly distributed in the cerebral cortex and other brain regions. Because inhibitory postsynaptic potentials mediated by these neurons are reliable, they provide a more efficient means for timing than excitatory postsynaptic potentials. Due to the localized axon arbors of basket and chandelier cells and the local gap junctions, gamma oscillations in the cortex are often confined to a small piece of tissue. Coupling of distant gamma oscillators requires fast-conducting conduits, provided by the widespread axon collaterals of long-range interneurons and possibly by the long axons of some pyramidal cells. The physiological importance of the gamma rhythm is supported by the observation that neuronal assemblies in the waking brain self-organize themselves into temporal packages of 15 to 30 milliseconds.
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