Dopamine Modulates Delta-Gamma Phase-Amplitude Coupling in the Prefrontal Cortex of Behaving Rats

Victoria Andino-Pavlovsky, Annie C. Souza, Robson Scheffer-Teixeira, Adriano B. L. Tort, Roberto Etchenique and Sidarta Ribeiro

Dopamine release and phase-amplitude cross-frequency coupling (CFC) have independently been implicated in prefrontal cortex (PFC) functioning. To causally investigate whether dopamine release affects phase-amplitude comodulation between different frequencies in local field potentials (LFP) recorded from the medial PFC (mPFC) of behaving rats, we used RuBiDopa, a light-sensitive caged compound that releases the neurotransmitter dopamine when irradiated with visible light. LFP power did not change in any frequency band after the application of light-uncaged dopamine, but significantly strengthened phase-amplitude comodulation between delta and gamma oscillations. Saline did not exert significant changes, while injections of dopamine and RuBiDopa produced a slow increase in comodulation for several minutes after the injection. The results show that dopamine release in the medial PFC shifts phase-amplitude comodulation from theta-gamma to delta-gamma. Although being preliminary results due to the limitation of the low number of animals present in this study, our findings suggest that dopamine-mediated modification of the frequencies involved in comodulation could be a mechanism by which this neurotransmitter regulates functioning in mPFC.

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