Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 220, Issue 6, pp 3721–3731 | Cite as

Synchronization among neuronal pools without common inputs: in vivo study

  • Haya Brama
  • Shoshana Guberman
  • Moshe Abeles
  • Edward SternEmail author
  • Ido KanterEmail author
Original Article


Periodic synchronization of activity among neuronal pools has been related to substantial neural processes and information throughput in the neocortical network. However, the mechanisms of generating such periodic synchronization among distributed pools of neurons remain unclear. We hypothesize that to a large extent there is interplay between the topology of the neocortical networks and their reverberating modes of activity. The firing synchronization is governed by a nonlocal mechanism, the network delay loops, such that distant neuronal pools without common drives can be synchronized. This theoretical interplay between network topology and the synchronized mode is verified using an iterative procedure of a single intracellularly recorded neuron in vivo, imitating the dynamics of the entire network. The input is injected to the neuron via the recording electrode as current and computed from the filtered, evoked spikes of its pre-synaptic sources, previously emulated by the same neuron. In this manner we approximate subthreshold synaptic inputs from afferent neuronal pools to the neuron. Embedding the activity of these recurrent motifs in the intact brain allows us to measure the effects of connection probability, synaptic strength, and ongoing activity on the neuronal synchrony. Our in vivo experiments indicate that an initial stimulus given to a single pool is dynamically evolving into the formations of zero-lag and cluster synchronization. By applying results from theoretical models and in vitro experiments to in vivo activity in the intact brain, we support the notion that this mechanism may account for the binding activity across distributed brain areas.


In vivo Cell assemblies Population dynamics Neural networks Synchronization 



The authors thank Noa Menkes-Caspi, Vered Kellner, Shlomit Beker, Igor Reidler and Hana Arnon for technical assistance. Funding for this study was provided by the Legacy Heritage Bio-Medical Program of the Israel Science Foundation (688/10).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that we have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

429_2014_886_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (222 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 222 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MPG 32834 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gonda Interdisciplinary Brain Research Center, and the Goodman Faculty of Life SciencesBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  3. 3.MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Department of NeurologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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