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Distinct types of theta rhythmicity are induced by social and fearful stimuli in a network associated with social memory

  1. Alex Tendler
  2. Shlomo Wagner  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Haifa, Israel
Research Article
  • Cited 25
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e03614 doi: 10.7554/eLife.03614


Rhythmic activity in the theta range is thought to promote neuronal communication between brain regions. Here we performed chronic telemetric recordings in socially behaving rats to monitor electrophysiological activity in limbic brain regions linked to social behavior. Social encounters were associated with increased rhythmicity in the high theta range (7-10 Hz) that was proportional to the stimulus degree of novelty. This modulation of theta rhythmicity, which was specific for social stimuli, appeared to reflect a brain-state of social arousal. In contrast, the same network responded to a fearful stimulus by enhancement of rhythmicity in the low theta range (3-7 Hz). Moreover, theta rhythmicity showed different pattern of coherence between the distinct brain regions in response to social and fearful stimuli. We suggest that the two types of stimuli induce distinct arousal states that elicit different patterns of theta rhythmicity, which cause the same brain areas to communicate in different modes.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Alex Tendler

    Sagol Department of Neurobiology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Shlomo Wagner

    Sagol Department of Neurobiology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.


Animal experimentation: This study was performed in accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols of the University of Haifa. The protocol was approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of the University of Haifa (Permit Number: 194-10). All surgery was performed under Ketamine and Medetomidine, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Peggy Mason, University of Chicago, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: June 6, 2014
  2. Accepted: February 12, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 16, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 10, 2015 (version 2)


© 2015, Tendler & Wagner

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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