The subcortical visual system (SVS) is a unique collection of brain structures localised in the thalamus, hypothalamus and midbrain. The SVS receives ambient light inputs from retinal ganglion cells and integrates this signal with internal homeostatic demands to influence physiology. During this processing, a multitude of oscillatory frequency bands coalesces, with some originating from the retinas, while others are intrinsically generated in the SVS. Collectively, these rhythms are further modulated by the day and night cycle. The multiplexing of these diverse frequency bands (from circadian to infra-slow and gamma oscillations) makes the SVS an interesting system to study coupling at multiscale frequencies. We review the functional organisation of the SVS, and the various frequencies generated and processed by its neurons. We propose a perspective on how these different frequency bands couple with one another to synchronise the activity of the SVS to control physiology and behaviour.
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