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Modulation of Prefrontal Cortex Slow Oscillations by Phasic Activation of the Locus Coeruleus

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Durán,  E
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Yang,  M
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Neves,  R
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Eschenko,  O
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Durán, E., Yang, M., Neves, R., Logothetis, N., & Eschenko, O. (2021). Modulation of Prefrontal Cortex Slow Oscillations by Phasic Activation of the Locus Coeruleus. Neuroscience, 453, 268-279. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.11.028.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-A888-2
Abstract
Cortical slow rhythmic activity, a hallmark of deep sleep, is observed under urethane anesthesia. Synchronized fluctuations of the membrane excitability of a large neuronal population are reflected in the extracellular Local Field Potential (LFP), as high-amplitude slow (∼1 Hz) oscillations (SO). The SO-phase indicates the presence (Up) or absence (Down) of neuronal spiking. The cortical state is controlled by the input from thalamic and neuromodulatory centers, including the brainstem noradrenergic nucleus Locus Coeruleus (LC). The bidirectional modulation of neuronal excitability by noradrenaline (NA) is well known. We have previously shown that LC phasic activation caused transient excitability increase in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In the present study, we characterized the effect of LC phasic activation on the prefrontal population dynamics at a temporal scale of a single SO cycle. We applied short (0.2 s) trains of electric pulses (0.02-0.05 mA at 20-50 Hz) to the LC cell bodies and monitored a broadband (0.1 Hz-8 kHz) mPFC LFP in urethane-anesthetized rats. The direct electrical stimulation of LC (LC-DES), applied during the Up-phase, enhanced the firing probability in the mPFC by ∼20% and substantially prolonged Up-states in 56% of trials. The LC-DES applied during Down-phase caused a rapid Down-to-Up transition in 81.5% of trials. The LC-DES was more effective at a higher frequency, but not at a higher current. Our results suggest that transient NA release, coupled to SO, may promote synaptic plasticity and memory consolidation by sustaining a depolarized state in the mPFC neurons.