Adaptive coincidence detection and dynamic gain control in visual cortical neurons in vivo

Neuron. 2003 Feb 6;37(3):513-23. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)01186-8.


Several theories have proposed a functional role for response synchronization in sensory perception. Critics of these theories have argued that selective synchronization is physiologically implausible when cortical networks operate at high levels of activity. Using intracellular recordings from visual cortex in vivo, in combination with numerical simulations, we find dynamic changes in spike threshold that reduce cellular sensitivity to slow depolarizations and concurrently increase the relative sensitivity to rapid depolarizations. Consistent with this, we find that spike activity and high-frequency fluctuations in membrane potential are closely correlated and that both are more tightly tuned for stimulus orientation than the mean membrane potential. These findings suggest that under high-input conditions the spike-generating mechanism adaptively enhances the sensitivity to synchronous inputs while simultaneously decreasing the sensitivity to temporally uncorrelated inputs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Adaptation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*