Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is characterized by hippocampal theta waves and phasic spike-like waves originating from the pons, termed ponto-geniculo-occipital (PGO) waves in cats and pontine (P) waves in rats. While the theta wave and PGO/P wave have been suggested to participate in higher-order brain functions, their generation mechanisms and roles in brain functions have been studied independently. Therefore, the present study investigated instantaneous aspects of the relationship between theta waves and PGO/P waves in both cats and rats. Theta wave was instantaneously accelerated several hundred milliseconds before the negative peak of the PGO/P wave in both animals, and was also amplified just before PGO/P wave occurrence. Considering the integrated knowledge provided by studies of both animals, these results suggest that PGO/P wave-related activities in the pons are delivered to the theta wave generator. The activations of the theta wave coincident with PGO/P wave might facilitate cooperative contribution to higher-order brain functions in REM sleep.
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