Synaptic dynamics control the timing of neuronal excitation in the activated neocortical microcircuit
It is well established that sensory stimulation results in the activity of multiple functional columns in the neocortex. The manner in which neurones within each column are active in relation to each other is, however, not known. Multiple whole-cell recordings in activated neocortical slices from rat revealed diverse correlation profiles of excitatory synaptic input to different types of neurones. The specific correlation profile between any two neurones could be predicted by the settings of synaptic depression and facilitation at the input synapses. Simulations further showed that patterned activity is essential for synaptic dynamics to impose the temporal dispersion of excitatory input. We propose that synaptic dynamics choreograph neuronal activity within the neocortical microcircuit in a context-dependent manner.