Excitatory/inhibitory responses shape coherent neuronal dynamics driven by optogenetic stimulation in the primate brain

Ryan A. Shewcraft, Heather L. Dean, Margaret M. Fabiszak, Maureen A. Hagan, Yan T. Wong, Bijan Pesaran

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Coherent neuronal dynamics play an important role in complex cognitive functions. Optogenetic stimulation promises to provide new ways to test the functional significance of coherent neural activity. However, the mechanisms by which optogenetic stimulation drives coherent dynamics remain unclear, especially in the nonhuman primate brain. Here, we perform computational modeling and experiments to study the mechanisms of optogenetic-stimulation-driven coherent neuronal dynamics in three male nonhuman primates. Neural responses arise from stimulation-evoked, temporally dynamic excitatory (E) and inhibitory (I) activity. Spiking activity is more likely to occur during E/I imbalances. Thus the relative difference in the driven E and I responses precisely controls spike timing by forming a brief time interval of increased spiking likelihood. Experimental results agree with parameter-dependent predictions from the computational models. These results demonstrate that optogenetic stimulation driven coherent neuronal dynamics are governed by the temporal properties of E/I activity. Transient imbalances in excitatory and inhibitory activity may provide a general mechanism for generating coherent neuronal dynamics without the need for an oscillatory generator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2056-2068
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020


  • Balanced networks
  • Neural coherence
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Optogenetic stimulation

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