Necessary Conditions for Reliable Propagation of Slowly Time-Varying Firing Rate.
ABSTRACT: Reliable propagation of slow-modulations of the firing rate across multiple layers of a feedforward network (FFN) has proven difficult to capture in spiking neural models. In this paper, we explore necessary conditions for reliable and stable propagation of time-varying asynchronous spikes whose instantaneous rate of changes-in fairly short time windows [20-100] msec-represents information of slow fluctuations of the stimulus. Specifically, we study the effect of network size, level of background synaptic noise, and the variability of synaptic delays in an FFN with all-to-all connectivity. We show that network size and the level of background synaptic noise, together with the strength of synapses, are substantial factors enabling the propagation of asynchronous spikes in deep layers of an FFN. In contrast, the variability of synaptic delays has a minor effect on signal propagation.
Project description:The role of dendritic spiking mechanisms in neural processing is so far poorly understood. To investigate the role of calcium spikes in the functional properties of the single neuron and recurrent networks, we investigated a three compartment neuron model of the layer 5 pyramidal neuron with calcium dynamics in the distal compartment. By performing single neuron simulations with noisy synaptic input and occasional large coincident input at either just the distal compartment or at both somatic and distal compartments, we show that the presence of calcium spikes confers a substantial advantage for coincidence detection in the former case and a lesser advantage in the latter. We further show that the experimentally observed critical frequency phenomenon, in which action potentials triggered by stimuli near the soma above a certain frequency trigger a calcium spike at distal dendrites, leading to further somatic depolarization, is not exhibited by a neuron receiving realistically noisy synaptic input, and so is unlikely to be a necessary component of coincidence detection. We next investigate the effect of calcium spikes in propagation of spiking activities in a feed-forward network (FFN) embedded in a balanced recurrent network. The excitatory neurons in the network are again connected to either just the distal, or both somatic and distal compartments. With purely distal connectivity, activity propagation is stable and distinguishable for a large range of recurrent synaptic strengths if the feed-forward connections are sufficiently strong, but propagation does not occur in the absence of calcium spikes. When connections are made to both the somatic and the distal compartments, activity propagation is achieved for neurons with active calcium dynamics at a much smaller number of neurons per pool, compared to a network of passive neurons, but quickly becomes unstable as the strength of recurrent synapses increases. Activity propagation at higher scaling factors can be stabilized by increasing network inhibition or introducing short term depression in the excitatory synapses, but the signal to noise ratio remains low. Our results demonstrate that the interaction of synchrony with dendritic spiking mechanisms can have profound consequences for the dynamics on the single neuron and network level.
Project description:The coordinated propagation of activity across cortical layers enables simultaneous local computation and inter-areal interactions. A pattern of upward propagation from deeper to more superficial layers, which has been repeatedly demonstrated in spontaneous activity, would allow these functions to occur in parallel. But it remains unclear whether upward propagation also occurs for stimulus evoked activity, and how it relates to activity in other cortical areas. Here we used a new method to analyze relative delays between spikes obtained from simultaneous laminar recordings in primary sensory cortex (S1) of both hemispheres. The results identified systematic spike delays across cortical layers that showed a general upward propagation of activity in evoked and spontaneous activity. Systematic spike delays were also observed between hemispheres. After spikes in one S1 the delays in the other S1 were shortest at infragranular layers and increased in the upward direction. Model comparisons furthermore showed that upward propagation was better explained as a step-wise progression over cortical layers than as a traveling wave. The results are in line with the notion that upward propagation functionally integrates activity into local processing at superficial layers, while efficiently allowing for simultaneous inter-areal interactions.
Project description:Spontaneous cortical population activity exhibits a multitude of oscillatory patterns, which often display synchrony during slow-wave sleep or under certain anesthetics and stay asynchronous during quiet wakefulness. The mechanisms behind these cortical states and transitions among them are not completely understood. Here we study spontaneous population activity patterns in random networks of spiking neurons of mixed types modeled by Izhikevich equations. Neurons are coupled by conductance-based synapses subject to synaptic noise. We localize the population activity patterns on the parameter diagram spanned by the relative inhibitory synaptic strength and the magnitude of synaptic noise. In absence of noise, networks display transient activity patterns, either oscillatory or at constant level. The effect of noise is to turn transient patterns into persistent ones: for weak noise, all activity patterns are asynchronous non-oscillatory independently of synaptic strengths; for stronger noise, patterns have oscillatory and synchrony characteristics that depend on the relative inhibitory synaptic strength. In the region of parameter space where inhibitory synaptic strength exceeds the excitatory synaptic strength and for moderate noise magnitudes networks feature intermittent switches between oscillatory and quiescent states with characteristics similar to those of synchronous and asynchronous cortical states, respectively. We explain these oscillatory and quiescent patterns by combining a phenomenological global description of the network state with local descriptions of individual neurons in their partial phase spaces. Our results point to a bridge from events at the molecular scale of synapses to the cellular scale of individual neurons to the collective scale of neuronal populations.
Project description:Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) modifies synaptic strengths based on the relative timing of pre- and postsynaptic spikes. The temporal order of spikes turned out to be crucial. We here take into account how propagation delays, composed of dendritic and axonal delay times, may affect the temporal order of spikes. In a minimal setting, characterized by neglecting dendritic and axonal propagation delays, STDP eliminates bidirectional connections between two coupled neurons and turns them into unidirectional connections. In this paper, however, we show that depending on the dendritic and axonal propagation delays, the temporal order of spikes at the synapses can be different from those in the cell bodies and, consequently, qualitatively different connectivity patterns emerge. In particular, we show that for a system of two coupled oscillatory neurons, bidirectional synapses can be preserved and potentiated. Intriguingly, this finding also translates to large networks of type-II phase oscillators and, hence, crucially impacts on the overall hierarchical connectivity patterns of oscillatory neuronal networks.
Project description:Alterations in the levels of synaptic proteins affect synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. However, the precise effects on neuronal network activity are still enigmatic. Here, we utilized microelectrode array (MEA) to elucidate how manipulation of the presynaptic release process affects the activity of neuronal networks. By combining pharmacological tools and genetic manipulation of synaptic proteins, we show that overexpression of DOC2B and Munc13-1, proteins known to promote vesicular maturation and release, elicits opposite effects on the activity of the neuronal network. Although both cause an increase in the overall number of spikes, the distribution of spikes is different. While DOC2B enhances, Munc13-1 reduces the firing rate within bursts of spikes throughout the network; however, Munc13-1 increases the rate of network bursts. DOC2B's effects were mimicked by Strontium that elevates asynchronous release but not by a DOC2B mutant that enhances spontaneous release rate. This suggests for the first time that increased asynchronous release on the single-neuron level promotes bursting activity in the network level. This innovative study demonstrates the complementary role of the network level in explaining the physiological relevance of the cellular activity of presynaptic proteins and the transformation of synaptic release manipulation from the neuron to the network level.
Project description:The mechanisms underlying an effective propagation of high intensity information over a background of irregular firing and response latency in cognitive processes remain unclear. Here we propose a SSCCPI circuit to address this issue. We hypothesize that when a high-intensity thalamic input triggers synchronous spike events (SSEs), dense spikes are scattered to many receiving neurons within a cortical column in layer IV, many sparse spike trains are propagated in parallel along minicolumns at a substantially high speed and finally integrated into an output spike train toward or in layer Va. We derive the sufficient conditions for an effective (fast, reliable, and precise) SSCCPI circuit: (i) SSEs are asynchronous (near synchronous); (ii) cortical columns prevent both repeatedly triggering SSEs and incorrectly synaptic connections between adjacent columns; and (iii) the propagator in interneurons is temporally complete fidelity and reliable. We encode the membrane potential responses to stimuli using the non-linear autoregressive integrated process derived by applying Newton's second law to stochastic resilience systems. We introduce a multithreshold decoder to correct encoding errors. Evidence supporting an effective SSCCPI circuit includes that for the condition, (i) time delay enhances SSEs, suggesting that response latency induces SSEs in high-intensity stimuli; irregular firing causes asynchronous SSEs; asynchronous SSEs relate to healthy neurons; and rigorous SSEs relate to brain disorders. For the condition (ii) neurons within a given minicolumn are stereotypically interconnected in the vertical dimension, which prevents repeated triggering SSEs and ensures signal parallel propagation; columnar segregation avoids incorrect synaptic connections between adjacent columns; and signal propagation across layers overwhelmingly prefers columnar direction. For the condition (iii), accumulating experimental evidence supports temporal transfer precision with millisecond fidelity and reliability in interneurons; homeostasis supports a stable fixed-point encoder by regulating changes to synaptic size, synaptic strength, and ion channel function in the membrane; together all-or-none modulation, active backpropagation, additive effects of graded potentials, and response variability functionally support the multithreshold decoder; our simulations demonstrate that the encoder-decoder is temporally complete fidelity and reliable in special intervals contained within the stable fixed-point range. Hence, the SSCCPI circuit provides a possible mechanism of effective signal propagation in cortical networks.
Project description:In vivo, cortical pyramidal cells are bombarded by asynchronous synaptic input arising from ongoing network activity. However, little is known about how such 'background' synaptic input interacts with nonlinear dendritic mechanisms. We have modified an existing model of a layer 5 (L5) pyramidal cell to explore how dendritic integration in the apical dendritic tuft could be altered by the levels of network activity observed in vivo. Here we show that asynchronous background excitatory input increases neuronal gain and extends both temporal and spatial integration of stimulus-evoked synaptic input onto the dendritic tuft. Addition of fast and slow inhibitory synaptic conductances, with properties similar to those from dendritic targeting interneurons, that provided a 'balanced' background configuration, partially counteracted these effects, suggesting that inhibition can tune spatio-temporal integration in the tuft. Excitatory background input lowered the threshold for NMDA receptor-mediated dendritic spikes, extended their duration and increased the probability of additional regenerative events occurring in neighbouring branches. These effects were also observed in a passive model where all the non-synaptic voltage-gated conductances were removed. Our results show that glutamate-bound NMDA receptors arising from ongoing network activity can provide a powerful spatially distributed nonlinear dendritic conductance. This may enable L5 pyramidal cells to change their integrative properties as a function of local network activity, potentially allowing both clustered and spatially distributed synaptic inputs to be integrated over extended timescales.
Project description:Sensory processing requires mechanisms of fast coincidence detection to discriminate synchronous from asynchronous inputs. Spike threshold adaptation enables such a discrimination but is ineffective in transmitting this information to the network. We show here that presynaptic axonal sodium channels read and transmit precise levels of input synchrony to the postsynaptic cell by modulating the presynaptic action potential (AP) amplitude. As a consequence, synaptic transmission is facilitated at cortical synapses when the presynaptic spike is produced by synchronous inputs. Using dual soma-axon recordings, imaging, and modeling, we show that this facilitation results from enhanced AP amplitude in the axon due to minimized inactivation of axonal sodium channels. Quantifying local circuit activity and using network modeling, we found that spikes induced by synchronous inputs produced a larger effect on network activity than spikes induced by asynchronous inputs. Therefore, this input synchrony-dependent facilitation may constitute a powerful mechanism, regulating synaptic transmission at proximal synapses.
Project description:Message passing between components of a distributed physical system is non-instantaneous and contributes to determine the time scales of the emerging collective dynamics. In biological neuron networks this is due in part to local synaptic filtering of exchanged spikes, and in part to the distribution of the axonal transmission delays. How differently these two kinds of communication protocols affect the network dynamics is still an open issue due to the difficulties in dealing with the non-Markovian nature of synaptic transmission. Here, we develop a mean-field dimensional reduction yielding to an effective Markovian dynamics of the population density of the neuronal membrane potential, valid under the hypothesis of small fluctuations of the synaptic current. Within this limit, the resulting theory allows us to prove the formal equivalence between the two transmission mechanisms, holding for any synaptic time scale, integrate-and-fire neuron model, spike emission regimes and for different network states even when the neuron number is finite. The equivalence holds even for larger fluctuations of the synaptic input, if white noise currents are incorporated to model other possible biological features such as ionic channel stochasticity.
Project description:Time delay is a general feature of all interactions. Although the effects of delayed interaction are often neglected when the intrinsic dynamics is much slower than the coupling delay, they can be crucial otherwise. We show that delayed coupled neuronal networks support transitions between synchronous and asynchronous states when the level of input to the network changes. The level of input determines the oscillation period of neurons and hence whether time-delayed connections are synchronizing or desynchronizing. We find that synchronizing connections lead to synchronous dynamics, whereas desynchronizing connections lead to out-of-phase oscillations in network motifs and to frustrated states with asynchronous dynamics in large networks. Since the impact of a neuronal network to downstream neurons increases when spikes are synchronous, networks with delayed connections can serve as gatekeeper layers mediating the firing transfer to other regions. This mechanism can regulate the opening and closing of communicating channels between cortical layers on demand.