Stable propagation of synchronous spiking in cortical neural networks

Nature. 1999 Dec 2;402(6761):529-33. doi: 10.1038/990101.


The classical view of neural coding has emphasized the importance of information carried by the rate at which neurons discharge action potentials. More recent proposals that information may be carried by precise spike timing have been challenged by the assumption that these neurons operate in a noisy fashion--presumably reflecting fluctuations in synaptic input and, thus, incapable of transmitting signals with millisecond fidelity. Here we show that precisely synchronized action potentials can propagate within a model of cortical network activity that recapitulates many of the features of biological systems. An attractor, yielding a stable spiking precision in the (sub)millisecond range, governs the dynamics of synchronization. Our results indicate that a combinatorial neural code, based on rapid associations of groups of neurons co-ordinating their activity at the single spike level, is possible within a cortical-like network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission