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Directed Communication between Nucleus Accumbens and Neocortex in Humans Is Differentially Supported by Synchronization in the Theta and Alpha Band

Research group Willuhn
Publication year 2015
Published in PLoS One
Authors D. Denys, Jörn M Horschig, Ruud Smolders, Mathilde Bonnefond, Jan-Mathijs Schoffelen, Pepijn van den Munckhof, P Richard Schuurman, Roshan Cools, Ole Jensen,

Here, we report evidence for oscillatory bi-directional interactions between the nucleus accumbens and the neocortex in humans. Six patients performed a demanding covert visual attention task while we simultaneously recorded brain activity from deep-brain electrodes implanted in the nucleus accumbens and the surface electroencephalogram (EEG). Both theta and alpha oscillations were strongly coherent with the frontal and parietal EEG during the task. Theta-band coherence increased during processing of the visual stimuli. Granger causality analysis revealed that the nucleus accumbens was communicating with the neocortex primarily in the theta-band, while the cortex was communicating the nucleus accumbens in the alpha-band. These data are consistent with a model, in which theta- and alpha-band oscillations serve dissociable roles: Prior to stimulus processing, the cortex might suppress ongoing processing in the nucleus accumbens by modulating alpha-band activity. Subsequently, upon stimulus presentation, theta oscillations might facilitate the active exchange of stimulus information from the nucleus accumbens to the cortex.

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