Role of Reticular Activation in the Modulation of Intracortical Synchronization

Science  12 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5259, pp. 271-274
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5259.271


During aroused states of the brain, electroencephalographic activity is characterized by fast, irregular fluctuations of low amplitude, which are thought to reflect desynchronization of neuronal activity. This phenomenon seems at odds with the proposal that synchronization of cortical responses may play an important role in the processing of sensory signals. Here, activation of the mesencephalic reticular formation (MRF), an effective way to “desynchronize the electroencephalogram,” was shown to facilitate oscillatory activity in the gamma frequency range and to enhance the stimulus-specific synchronization of neuronal spike responses in the visual cortex of cats.

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