Infoscience

Journal article

Cortical Dynamics in Presence of Assemblies of Densely Connected Weight-Hub Neurons

Experimental measurements of pairwise connection probability of pyramidal neurons together with the distribution of synaptic weights have been used to construct randomly connected model networks. However, several experimental studies suggest that both wiring and synaptic weight structure between neurons show statistics that differ from random networks. Here we study a network containing a subset of neurons which we call weight-hub neurons, that are characterized by strong inward synapses. We propose a connectivity structure for excitatory neurons that contain assemblies of densely connected weight-hub neurons, while the pairwise connection probability and synaptic weight distribution remain consistent with experimental data. Simulations of such a network with generalized integrate-and-fire neurons display regular and irregular slow oscillations akin to experimentally observed up/down state transitions in the activity of cortical neurons with a broad distribution of pairwise spike correlations. Moreover, stimulation of a model network in the presence or absence of assembly structure exhibits responses similar to light-evoked responses of cortical layers in optogenetically modified animals. We conclude that a high connection probability into and within assemblies of excitatory weight-hub neurons, as it likely is present in some but not all cortical layers, changes the dynamics of a layer of cortical microcircuitry significantly.

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