A columnar model of somatosensory reorganizational plasticity based on Hebbian and non-Hebbian learning rules
- Cite this article as:
- Joublin, F., Spengler, F., Wacquant, S. et al. Biol. Cybern. (1996) 74: 275. doi:10.1007/BF00652228
Topographical and functional aspects of neuronal plasticity were studied in the primary somatosensory cortex of adult rats in acute electrophysiological experiments. Under these experimental conditions, we observed short-term reversible reorganization induced by intracortical microstimulation or by an associative pairing of peripheral tactile stimulation. Both types of stimulation generate large-scale and reversible changes of the representational topography and of single cell functional properties. We present a model to simulate the spatial and functional reorganizational aspects of this type of short-term and reversible plasticity. The columnar structure of the network architecture is described and discussed from a biological point of view. The simulated architecture contains three main levels of information processing. The first one is a sensor array corresponding to the sensory surface of the hind paw. The second level, a pre-cortical relay cell array, represents the thalamo-cortical projection with different levels of excitatory and inhibitory relay cells and inhibitory nuclei. The array of cortical columns, the third level, represents stellate, double bouquet, basket and pyramidal cell interactions. The dynamics of the network are ruled by two integro-differential equations of the lateral-inhibition type. In order to implement neuronal plasticity, synaptic weight parameters in those equations are variables. The learning rules are motivated by the original concept of Hebb, but include a combination of both Hebbian and non-Hebbian rules, which modifies different intra- and inter-columnar interactions. We discuss the implications of neuronal plasticity from a behavioral point of view in terms of information processing and computational resources.