Gamma oscillations in the basolateral amygdala: Biophysical mechanisms and computational consequences
The basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BL) is thought to support numerous emotional behaviors through specific microcircuits. These are often thought to be comprised of feedforward networks of principal cells (PNs) and interneurons. Neither well-understood nor often considered are recurrent and feedback connections, which likely engender oscillatory dynamics within BL. Indeed, oscillations in the gamma frequency range (40100 Hz) are known to occur in the BL, and yet their origin and effect on local circuits remains unknown. To address this, we constructed a biophysically and anatomically detailed model of the rat BL and its local field potential (LFP) based on the physiological and anatomical literature, along with in vivo and in vitro data we collected on the activities of neurons within the rat BL. Remarkably, the model produced intermittent gamma oscillations (~50 70 Hz) whose properties matched those recorded in vivo, including their entrainment of spiking. BL gamma-band oscillations were generated by the intrinsic circuitry, depending upon reciprocal interactions between PNs and fast-spiking interneurons (FSIs), while connections within these cell types affected the rhythm's frequency. The model allowed us to conduct experimentally impossible tests to characterize the synaptic and spatial properties of gamma. The entrainment of individual neurons to gamma depended on the number of afferent connections they received, and gamma bursts were spatially restricted in the BL. Importantly, the gamma rhythm synchronized PNs and mediated competition between ensembles. Together, these results indicate that the recurrent connectivity of BL expands its computational and communication repertoire.