Global segregation of cortical activity and metastable dynamics

Stratton, Peter. and Wiles, Janet. (2015) Global segregation of cortical activity and metastable dynamics. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 9 119: . doi:10.3389/fnsys.2015.00119


Author Stratton, Peter.
Wiles, Janet.
Title Global segregation of cortical activity and metastable dynamics
Journal name Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1662-5137
Publication date 2015-08-25
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3389/fnsys.2015.00119
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 119
Total pages 15
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Cortical activity exhibits persistent metastable dynamics. Assemblies of neurons transiently couple (integrate) and decouple (segregate) at multiple spatiotemporal scales; both integration and segregation are required to support metastability. Integration of distant brain regions can be achieved through long range excitatory projections, but the mechanism supporting long range segregation is not clear. We argue that the thalamocortical matrix connections, which project diffusely from the thalamus to the cortex and have long been thought to support cortical gain control, play an equally-important role in cortical segregation. We present a computational model of the diffuse thalamocortical loop, called the competitive cross-coupling (CXC) spiking network. Simulations of the model show how different levels of tonic input from the brainstem to the thalamus could control dynamical complexity in the cortex, directing transitions between sleep, wakefulness and high attention or vigilance. The model also explains how mutually-exclusive activity could arise across large portions of the cortex, such as between the default-mode and task-positive networks. It is robust to noise but does not require noise to autonomously generate metastability. We conclude that the long range segregation observed in brain activity and required for global metastable dynamics could be provided by the thalamocortical matrix, and is strongly modulated by brainstem input to the thalamus.
Keyword Thalamocortical matrix
Autonomous metastable dynamics
Cortical segregation
Default mode network
Sleep
Wakefulness
Complexity
Spiking networks
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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