Alpha and gamma oscillations characterize feedback and feedforward processing in monkey visual cortex

Timo van Kerkoerle, Matthew W Self, Bruno Dagnino, Marie-Alice Gariel-Mathis, Jasper Poort, Chris van der Togt, Pieter R Roelfsema

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Cognitive functions rely on the coordinated activity of neurons in many brain regions, but the interactions between cortical areas are not yet well understood. Here we investigated whether low-frequency (α) and high-frequency (γ) oscillations characterize different directions of information flow in monkey visual cortex. We recorded from all layers of the primary visual cortex (V1) and found that γ-waves are initiated in input layer 4 and propagate to the deep and superficial layers of cortex, whereas α-waves propagate in the opposite direction. Simultaneous recordings from V1 and downstream area V4 confirmed that γ- and α-waves propagate in the feedforward and feedback direction, respectively. Microstimulation in V1 elicited γ-oscillations in V4, whereas microstimulation in V4 elicited α-oscillations in V1, thus providing causal evidence for the opposite propagation of these rhythms. Furthermore, blocking NMDA receptors, thought to be involved in feedback processing, suppressed α while boosting γ. These results provide new insights into the relation between brain rhythms and cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14332-41
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 07 Oct 2014


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