Finding Repeating Synaptic Inputs in a Single Neocortical Neuron

  • Gloster Aaron
Part of the Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience book series (NEUROSCI, volume 3)


A goal in neuroscience is to understand what occurs when large numbers of interconnected neurons actively communicate with each other to create perception. An important part in this goal is to observe large numbers of neurons engaged in such communication. Outlined here is an approach to this challenge. This approach uses a single neuron as a “microphone” of cortical activity. As potentially thousands of neurons may connect with a single neuron in the mammalian sensory neocortex, then it may be possible to record large networks by recording the synaptic inputs to a single neuron. In pursuing this goal, we observed patterns in the recordings that appeared to repeat with remarkable precision. Whether this finding is evidence that the cortex can produce precisely repeating patterns is a matter of contention, and we describe recent investigations of this question.


Single Neuron Synaptic Input Intracellular Recording Detector Window Putative Repeat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Cossart R, Aronov D, Yuste R (2003) Attractor dynamics of network UP states in the neocortex. Nature 423: 283–288.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shu Y, Hasenstaub A, McCormick DA (2003) Turning on and off recurrent balanced cortical activity. Nature 423: 288–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sanchez-Vives MV, McCormick DA (2000) Cellular and network mechanisms of rhythmic recurrent activity in neocortex. Nat Neurosci 3: 1027–1034.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    MacLean JN, Watson BO, Aaron GB, Yuste R (2005) Internal dynamics determine the cortical response to thalamic stimulation. Neuron 48: 811–823.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Yuste R, MacLean JN, Smith J, Lansner A (2005) The cortex as a central pattern generator. Nat Rev Neurosci 6: 477–483.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Abeles M (1991) Corticonics: Neural Circuits of the Cerebral Cortex. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Abeles M, Bergman H, Margalit E, Vaadia E (1993) Spatiotemporal firing patterns in the frontal cortex of behaving monkeys. J Neurophysiol 70: 1629–1638.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Nadasdy Z, Hirase H, Czurko A, Csicsvari J, Buzsaki G (1999) Replay and time compression of recurring spike sequences in the hippocampus. J Neurosci 19: 9497–9507.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shmiel T, Drori R, Shmiel O, Ben-Shaul Y, Nadasdy Z, Shemesh M, Teicher M, Abeles M (2006) Temporally precise cortical firing patterns are associated with distinct action segments. J Neurophysiol 96: 2645–2652.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ikegaya Y, Aaron G, Cossart R, Aronov D, Lampl I, Ferster D, Yuste R (2004) Synfire chains and cortical songs: temporal modules of cortical activity. Science 304: 559–564.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mao BQ, Hamzei-Sichani F, Aronov D, Froemke RC, Yuste R (2001) Dynamics of spontaneous activity in neocortical slices. Neuron 32: 883–898.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Oram MW, Wiener MC, Lestienne R, Richmond BJ (1999) Stochastic nature of precisely timed spike patterns in visual system neuronal responses. J Neurophysiol 81: 3021–3033.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Baker SN, Lemon RN (2000) Precise spatiotemporal repeating patterns in monkey primary and supplementary motor areas occur at chance levels. J Neurophysiol 84: 1770–1780.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mokeichev A, Okun M, Barak O, Katz Y, Ben-Shahar O, Lampl I (2007) Stochastic emergence of repeating cortical motifs in spontaneous membrane potential fluctuations in vivo. Neuron 53: 413–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ikegaya Y, Matsumoto W, Chiou HY, Yuste R, Aaron G (2008) Statistical significance of precisely repeated intracellular synaptic patterns. PLoS ONE 3: e3983.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Trevelyan AJ, Sussillo D, Watson BO, Yuste R (2006) Modular propagation of epileptiform activity: evidence for an inhibitory veto in neocortex. J Neurosci 26: 12447–12455.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyWesleyan UniversityMiddletownUSA

Personalised recommendations