Neuronal oscillations occur in health and disease; however, their characteristics can differ across conditions. During voluntary movement in freely moving rats, cerebellar nuclei (CN) neurons display intermittent but coherent oscillations in the theta frequency band (4–12 Hz). However, in the rat harmaline model of essential tremor, a disorder attributed to cerebellar malfunction, CN neurons display aberrant oscillations concomitantly with the emergence of body tremor. To identify the oscillation features that may underlie the emergence of body tremor, we analyzed neuronal activity recorded chronically from the rat CN under three conditions: in freely behaving animals, in harmaline-treated animals, and during chemical suppression of the harmaline-induced body tremor. Suppression of body tremor did not restore single neuron firing characteristics such as firing rate, the global and local coefficients of variation, the likelihood of a neuron to fire in bursts or their tendency to oscillate at a variety of dominant frequencies. Similarly, the fraction of simultaneously recorded neuronal pairs oscillating at a similar dominant frequency (<1 Hz deviation) and the mean frequency deviation within pairs remained similar to the harmaline condition. Moreover, the likelihood that pairs of CN neurons would co-oscillate was not only significantly lower than that measured in freely moving animals, but was significantly worse than chance. By contrast, the chemical suppression of body tremor fully restored pairwise neuronal coherence; that is, unlike in the harmaline condition, pairs of neurons that oscillated at the same time and frequency displayed high coherence, as in the controls. We suggest that oscillation coherence in CN neurons is essential for the execution of smooth movement and its loss likely underlies the emergence of body tremor.
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Copyright © 2023 Baumel, Yamin and Cohen.
- chronic recordings