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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2011, Article ID 683961, 15 pages
Research Article

Associative Memory Storage and Retrieval: Involvement of Theta Oscillations in Hippocampal Information Processing

1SISSA, Cognitive Neuroscience Sector, 34136 Trieste, Italy
2Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory, NTNU, 7030 Trondheim, Norway

Received 15 April 2011; Revised 25 June 2011; Accepted 9 July 2011

Academic Editor: Christian Leibold

Copyright © 2011 Federico Stella and Alessandro Treves. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Theta oscillations are thought to play a critical role in neuronal information processing, especially in the hippocampal region, where their presence is particularly salient. A detailed description of theta dynamics in this region has revealed not only a consortium of layer-specific theta dipoles, but also within-layer differences in the expression of theta. This complex and articulated arrangement of current flows is reflected in the way neuronal firing is modulated in time. Several models have proposed that these different theta modulators flexibly coordinate hippocampal regions, to support associative memory formation and retrieval. Here, we summarily review different approaches related to this issue and we describe a mechanism, based on experimental and simulation results, for memory retrieval in CA3 involving theta modulation.