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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 14042
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Self-organization of synchronous activity propagation in neuronal networks driven by local excitation
1.  M. Bayati
2.  A.R. Valizadeh
3.  A.H. Abbasian
4.  S. Cheng
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
  Vol.:  9
  Year:  2015
  Pages:   1-15
  Supported by:  IPM
Many experimental and theoretical studies have suggested that the reliable propagation of synchronous neural activity is crucial for neural information processing. The propagation of synchronous firing activity in so-called synfire chains has been studied extensively in feed-forward networks of spiking neurons. However, it remains unclear how such neural activity could emerge in recurrent neuronal networks through synaptic plasticity. In this study, we investigate whether local excitation, i.e., neurons that fire at a higher frequency than the other, spontaneously active neurons in the network, can shape a network to allow for synchronous activity propagation. We use two-dimensional, locally connected and heterogeneous neuronal networks with spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP). We find that, in our model, local excitation drives profound network changes within seconds. In the emergent network, neural activity propagates synchronously through the network. This activity originates from the site of the local excitation and propagates through the network. The synchronous activity propagation persists, even when the local excitation is removed, since it derives from the synaptic weight matrix. Importantly, once this connectivity is established it remains stable even in the presence of spontaneous activity. Our results suggest that synfire-chain-like activity can emerge in a relatively simple way in realistic neural networks by locally exciting the desired origin of the neuronal sequence.

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