Cortico-cortical communication dynamics

Per E. Roland, Claus C. Hilgetag, Gustavo Deco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In principle, cortico-cortical communication dynamics is simple: neurons in one cortical area communicate by sending action potentials that release glutamate and excite their target neurons in other cortical areas. In practice, knowledge about cortico-cortical communication dynamics is minute. One reason is that no current technique can capture the fast spatio-temporal cortico-cortical evolution of action potential transmission and membrane conductances with sufficient spatial resolution. A combination of optogenetics and monosynaptic tracing with virus can reveal the spatio-temporal cortico-cortical dynamics of specific neurons and their targets, but does not reveal how the dynamics evolves under natural conditions. Spontaneous ongoing action potentials also spread across cortical areas and are difficult to separate from structured evoked and intrinsic brain activity such as thinking. At a certain state of evolution, the dynamics may engage larger populations of neurons to drive the brain to decisions, percepts and behaviors. For example, successfully evolving dynamics to sensory transients can appear at the mesoscopic scale revealing how the transient is perceived. As a consequence of these methodological and conceptual difficulties, studies in this field comprise a wide range of computational models, large-scale measurements (e.g., by MEG, EEG), and a combination of invasive measurements in animal experiments. Further obstacles and challenges of studying cortico-cortical communication dynamics are outlined in this critical review.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cortical areas
  • Membrane potential dynamics
  • Spiking dynamics
  • Spontaneous activity
  • Synaptic transmission

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