Phasic relationship between the activity of basal forebrain neurons and cortical EEG in urethane-anesthetized rat

László Détári, Douglas D. Rasmusson, Kazue Semba

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Previous studies have shown that a large number of neurons in the basal forebrain have higher firing rates when the cortical electroencephalogram (EEG) is characterized by low-voltage fast activity compared to states characterized by slow waves. A smaller number of cells with increased discharge rates during slow waves have also been observed. This putative ascending effect is thought to be tonic, but no attempt has been made to analyze a closer temporal correlation between the activity of basal forebrain neurons and the cortical EEG. Recordings were made from single units in the basal forebrain concurrently with the cortical EEG in urethane-anesthetized rats. A total of 52 neurons consistently showed higher firing during low- voltage fast activity (F-cells), whereas 14 neurons were consistently more active during cortical slow waves (S-cells). In most of the F- (90%) and S- cells (86%) the change in firing rate occurred prior to the change in the EEG. The average delay was 300-400 ms. At a deep level of anesthesia, the EEG was characterized by an alternation of flat periods and large waves. Most F- cells became active near the start of the first large wave, which is known to correspond to the onset of depolarization of cortical pyramidal neurons. In contrast, most S-cells were less active during the large waves. These data show that the activity of basal forebrain neurons is phasically correlated with the EEG in addition to the tonic correlation that has been demonstrated previously. Both types of basal forebrain neurons change their firing rate prior to the change in cortical EEG, suggesting that the basal forebrain neurons may have a regulatory influence on the EEG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - jún. 6 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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