Synaptic plasticity controls sensory responses through frequency-dependent gamma oscillation resonance.
ABSTRACT: Synchronized gamma frequency oscillations in neural networks are thought to be important to sensory information processing, and their effects have been intensively studied. Here we describe a mechanism by which the nervous system can readily control gamma oscillation effects, depending selectively on visual stimuli. Using a model neural network simulation, we found that sensory response in the primary visual cortex is significantly modulated by the resonance between "spontaneous" and "stimulus-driven" oscillations. This gamma resonance can be precisely controlled by the synaptic plasticity of thalamocortical connections, and cortical response is regulated differentially according to the resonance condition. The mechanism produces a selective synchronization between the afferent and downstream neural population. Our simulation results explain experimental observations such as stimulus-dependent synchronization between the thalamus and the cortex at different oscillation frequencies. The model generally shows how sensory information can be selectively routed depending on its frequency components.
Project description:In many species, sensory stimuli elicit the oscillatory synchronization of groups of neurons. What determines the properties of these oscillations? In the olfactory system of the moth, we found that odors elicited oscillatory synchronization through a neural mechanism like that described in locust and Drosophila. During responses to long odor pulses, oscillations suddenly slowed as net olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) output decreased; thus, stimulus intensity appeared to determine oscillation frequency. However, changing the concentration of the odor had little effect upon oscillatory frequency. Our recordings in vivo and computational models based on these results suggested that the main effect of increasing odor concentration was to recruit additional, less well-tuned ORNs whose firing rates were tightly constrained by adaptation and saturation. Thus, in the periphery, concentration is encoded mainly by the size of the responsive ORN population, and oscillation frequency is set by the adaptation and saturation of this response.
Project description:Synchronization of neural oscillations as a mechanism of brain function is attracting increasing attention. Neural oscillation is a rhythmic neural activity that can be easily observed by noninvasive electroencephalography (EEG). Neural oscillations show the same frequency and cross-frequency synchronization for various cognitive and perceptual functions. However, it is unclear how this neural synchronization is achieved by a dynamical system. If neural oscillations are weakly coupled oscillators, the dynamics of neural synchronization can be described theoretically using a phase oscillator model. We propose an estimation method to identify the phase oscillator model from real data of cross-frequency synchronized activities. The proposed method can estimate the coupling function governing the properties of synchronization. Furthermore, we examine the reliability of the proposed method using time-series data obtained from numerical simulation and an electronic circuit experiment, and show that our method can estimate the coupling function correctly. Finally, we estimate the coupling function between EEG oscillation and the speech sound envelope, and discuss the validity of these results.
Project description:Neuronal mechanisms underlying beta/gamma oscillations (20-80 Hz) are not completely understood. Here, we show that in vivo beta/gamma oscillations in the cat visual cortex sometimes exhibit remarkably stable frequency even when inputs fluctuate dramatically. Enhanced frequency stability is associated with stronger oscillations measured in individual units and larger power in the local field potential. Simulations of neuronal circuitry demonstrate that membrane properties of inhibitory interneurons strongly determine the characteristics of emergent oscillations. Exploration of networks containing either integrator or resonator inhibitory interneurons revealed that: (i) Resonance, as opposed to integration, promotes robust oscillations with large power and stable frequency via a mechanism called RING (Resonance INduced Gamma); resonance favors synchronization by reducing phase delays between interneurons and imposes bounds on oscillation cycle duration; (ii) Stability of frequency and robustness of the oscillation also depend on the relative timing of excitatory and inhibitory volleys within the oscillation cycle; (iii) RING can reproduce characteristics of both Pyramidal INterneuron Gamma (PING) and INterneuron Gamma (ING), transcending such classifications; (iv) In RING, robust gamma oscillations are promoted by slow but are impaired by fast inputs. Results suggest that interneuronal membrane resonance can be an important ingredient for generation of robust gamma oscillations having stable frequency.
Project description:Divisive normalization models of covert attention commonly use spike rate modulations as indicators of the effect of top-down attention. In addition, an increasing number of studies have shown that top-down attention increases the synchronization of neuronal oscillations as well, particularly in gamma-band frequencies (25-100?Hz). Although modulations of spike rate and synchronous oscillations are not mutually exclusive as mechanisms of attention, there has thus far been little effort to integrate these concepts into a single framework of attention. Here, we aim to provide such a unified framework by expanding the normalization model of attention with a multi-level hierarchical structure and a time dimension; allowing the simulation of a recently reported backward progression of attentional effects along the visual cortical hierarchy. A simple cascade of normalization models simulating different cortical areas is shown to cause signal degradation and a loss of stimulus discriminability over time. To negate this degradation and ensure stable neuronal stimulus representations, we incorporate a kind of oscillatory phase entrainment into our model that has previously been proposed as the "communication-through-coherence" (CTC) hypothesis. Our analysis shows that divisive normalization and oscillation models can complement each other in a unified account of the neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. The resulting hierarchical normalization and oscillation (HNO) model reproduces several additional spatial and temporal aspects of attentional modulation and predicts a latency effect on neuronal responses as a result of cued attention.
Project description:Fine-scale temporal organization of cortical activity in the gamma range (?25-80Hz) may play a significant role in information processing, for example by neural grouping ('binding') and phase coding. Recent experimental studies have shown that the precise frequency of gamma oscillations varies with input drive (e.g. visual contrast) and that it can differ among nearby cortical locations. This has challenged theories assuming widespread gamma synchronization at a fixed common frequency. In the present study, we investigated which principles govern gamma synchronization in the presence of input-dependent frequency modulations and whether they are detrimental for meaningful input-dependent gamma-mediated temporal organization. To this aim, we constructed a biophysically realistic excitatory-inhibitory network able to express different oscillation frequencies at nearby spatial locations. Similarly to cortical networks, the model was topographically organized with spatially local connectivity and spatially-varying input drive. We analyzed gamma synchronization with respect to phase-locking, phase-relations and frequency differences, and quantified the stimulus-related information represented by gamma phase and frequency. By stepwise simplification of our models, we found that the gamma-mediated temporal organization could be reduced to basic synchronization principles of weakly coupled oscillators, where input drive determines the intrinsic (natural) frequency of oscillators. The gamma phase-locking, the precise phase relation and the emergent (measurable) frequencies were determined by two principal factors: the detuning (intrinsic frequency difference, i.e. local input difference) and the coupling strength. In addition to frequency coding, gamma phase contained complementary stimulus information. Crucially, the phase code reflected input differences, but not the absolute input level. This property of relative input-to-phase conversion, contrasting with latency codes or slower oscillation phase codes, may resolve conflicting experimental observations on gamma phase coding. Our modeling results offer clear testable experimental predictions. We conclude that input-dependency of gamma frequencies could be essential rather than detrimental for meaningful gamma-mediated temporal organization of cortical activity.
Project description:Neural entrainment is the synchronization of neural activity to the frequency of repetitive external stimuli, which can be observed as an increase in the electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectrum at the driving frequency, -also known as the steady-state response. Although it has been systematically reported that the entrained EEG oscillation persists for approximately three cycles after stimulus offset, the neural mechanisms underpinning it remain unknown. Focusing on alpha oscillations, we adopt the dynamical excitation/inhibition framework, which suggests that phases of entrained EEG signals correspond to alternating excitatory/inhibitory states of the neural circuitry. We hypothesize that the duration of the persistence of entrainment is determined by the specific functional state of the entrained neural network at the time the stimulus ends. Steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEP) were elicited in 19 healthy volunteers at the participants' individual alpha peaks. Visual stimulation consisted of a sinusoidally-varying light terminating at one of four phases: 0, ?/2, ?, and 3?/2. The persistence duration of the oscillatory activity was analyzed as a function of the terminating phase of the stimulus. Phases of the SSVEP at the stimulus termination were distributed within a constant range of values relative to the phase of the stimulus. Longer persistence durations were obtained when visual stimulation terminated towards the troughs of the alpha oscillations, while shorter persistence durations occurred when stimuli terminated near the peaks. Source localization analysis suggests that the persistence of entrainment reflects the functioning of fronto-occipital neuronal circuits, which might prime the sensory representation of incoming visual stimuli based on predictions about stimulus rhythmicity. Consequently, different states of the network at the end of the stimulation, corresponding to different states of intrinsic neuronal coupling, may determine the time windows over which coding of incoming sensory stimulation is modulated by the preceding oscillatory activity.
Project description:Functional imaging of the human brain is an increasingly important technique for clinical and cognitive neuroscience research, with functional MRI (fMRI) of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response and electroencephalography or magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings of neural oscillations being 2 of the most popular approaches. However, the neural and physiological mechanisms that generate these responses are only partially understood and sources of interparticipant variability in these measures are rarely investigated. Here, we test the hypothesis that the properties of these neuroimaging metrics are related to individual levels of cortical inhibition by combining magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify resting GABA concentration in the visual cortex, MEG to measure stimulus-induced visual gamma oscillations and fMRI to measure the BOLD response to a simple visual grating stimulus. Our results demonstrate that across individuals gamma oscillation frequency is positively correlated with resting GABA concentration in visual cortex (R = 0.68; P < 0.02), BOLD magnitude is inversely correlated with resting GABA (R = -0.64; P < 0.05) and that gamma oscillation frequency is strongly inversely correlated with the magnitude of the BOLD response (R = -0.88; P < 0.001). Our results are therefore supportive of recent theories suggesting that these functional neuroimaging metrics are dependent on the excitation/inhibition balance in an individual's cortex and have important implications for the interpretation of functional imaging results, particularly when making between-group comparisons in clinical research.
Project description:The idea that a flexible behavior relies on synchronous neural activity within intra- and inter-associated cortical areas has been a matter of intense research in human and animal neuroscience. The neurophysiological mechanisms underlying this behavioral correlate of the synchronous activity are still unknown. It has been suggested that the strength of neural synchrony at the level of population is an important neural code to guide an efficient transformation of the sensory input into the behavioral action. In this study, we have examined the non-linear synchronization between neural ensembles in area MT of the macaque visual cortex by employing a non-linear cross-frequency coupling technique, namely bicoherence. We trained a macaque monkey to detect a brief change in the cued stimulus during a visuomotor detection task. The results show that the non-linear phase synchronization in the high-gamma frequency band (100-250 Hz) predicts the animal's reaction time. The strength of non-linear phase synchronization is selective to the target stimulus location. In addition, the non-linearity characteristics of neural synchronization are selectively modulated when the monkey covertly attends to the stimulus inside the neuron's receptive field. This additional evidence indicates that non-linear neuronal synchronization may be affected by a cognitive function like spatial attention. Our neural and behavioral observations reflect that two crucial processes may be involved in processing of visuomotor information in area MT: (I) a non-linear cortical process (measured by the bicoherence) and (II) a linear process (measured by the spectral power).
Project description:BACKGROUND: Gamma oscillations are electric activity patterns of the mammalian brain hypothesized to serve attention, sensory perception, working memory and memory encoding. They are disrupted or altered in schizophrenic patients with associated cognitive deficits, which persist in spite of treatment with antipsychotics. Because cognitive symptoms are a core feature of schizophrenia it is relevant to explore signaling pathways that potentially regulate gamma oscillations. Dopamine has been reported to decrease gamma oscillation power via D1-like receptors. Based on the expression pattern of D4 receptors (D4R) in hippocampus, and pharmacological effects of D4R ligands in animals, we hypothesize that they are in a position to regulate gamma oscillations as well. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To address this hypothesis we use rat hippocampal slices and kainate-induced gamma oscillations. Local field potential recordings as well as intracellular recordings of pyramidal cells, fast-spiking and non-fast-spiking interneurons were carried out. We show that D4R activation with the selective ligand PD168077 increases gamma oscillation power, which can be blocked by the D4R-specific antagonist L745,870 as well as by the antipsychotic drug Clozapine. Pyramidal cells did not exhibit changes in excitatory or inhibitory synaptic current amplitudes, but inhibitory currents became more coherent with the oscillations after application of PD168077. Fast-spiking, but not non-fast spiking, interneurons, increase their action potential phase-coupling and coherence with regard to ongoing gamma oscillations in response to D4R activation. Among several possible mechanisms we found that the NMDA receptor antagonist AP5 also blocks the D4R mediated increase in gamma oscillation power. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We conclude that D4R activation affects fast-spiking interneuron synchronization and thereby increases gamma power by an NMDA receptor-dependent mechanism. This suggests that converging deficits on fast-spiking interneurons may lead to decreased network function and thus aberrant gamma oscillations and cognitive decline in schizophrenia.
Project description:Oscillatory activity in neural populations and temporal synchronization within these populations are important mechanisms contributing to perception and cognition. In schizophrenia, perception and cognition are impaired. Aberrant gating of irrelevant sensory information, which has been related to altered oscillatory neural activity, presumably contributes to these impairments. However, the link between schizophrenia symptoms and sensory gating deficits, as reflected in oscillatory activity, is not clear. In this electroencephalography study, we used a paired-stimulus paradigm to investigate frequency-resolved oscillatory activity in 22 schizophrenia patients and 22 healthy controls. We found sensory gating deficits in patients compared to controls, as reflected in reduced gamma-band power and alpha-band phase synchrony difference between the first and the second auditory stimulus. We correlated these markers of neural activity with a five-factor model of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Gamma-band power sensory gating was positively correlated with positive symptoms. Moreover, alpha-band phase synchrony sensory gating was negatively correlated with negative symptoms. A cluster analysis revealed three schizophrenia phenotypes, characterized by (i) aberrant gamma-band power and high positive symptoms, (ii) aberrant alpha-band phase synchrony, low positive, and low negative symptom scores or (iii) by intact sensory gating and high negative symptoms. Our study demonstrates that aberrant neural synchronization, as reflected in gamma-band power and alpha-band phase synchrony, relates to the schizophrenia psychopathology. Different schizophrenia phenotypes express distinct levels of positive and negative symptoms as well as varying degrees of aberrant oscillatory neural activity. Identifying the individual phenotype might improve therapeutic interventions in schizophrenia.