Hippocampal strata theta oscillations change their frequency and coupling during spatial learning.
Theta (6-12 Hz) field potentials and the synchronization (coherence) of these potentials present neural network indices of hippocampal physiology. Theta signals within the hippocampal formation may reflect alterations in sensorimotor integration, the flow of sensory input, and/or distinct cognitive operations. While the power and coherence of theta signals vary across lamina within the septal hippocampus, limited information is available about variation in these indices across the septotemporal (long) or areal axis. The present study examined the relationship of locomotor speed to theta indices at CA1 and dentate gyrus (DG) sites across the septotemporal axis as well as in the entorhinal cortex. Our findings demonstrate the dominant relationship of speed to theta indices at septal sites. This relationship diminished systematically with distance from the septal pole of the hippocampus at both CA1 and DG sites. While theta power at entorhinal sites varied in relation to speed, there were no differences across the areal axis of the entorhinal cortex. Locomotor speed was also related to changes in theta coherence along the septotemporal axis as well as between the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. In addition to the speed-related variation, we observed a decrease in theta power at more temporal hippocampal sites over repeated behavioral testing within a single day that was not observed at septal sites. The results outline a dynamic and distributed pattern of network activity across the septotemporal axis of the hippocampus in relation to locomotor speed and recent past experience.