Architectural and synaptic mechanisms underlying coherent spontaneous activity in V1

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Apr 19;102(16):5868-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0501913102. Epub 2005 Apr 12.


To investigate the existence and the characteristics of possible cortical operating points of the primary visual cortex, as manifested by the coherent spontaneous ongoing activity revealed by real-time optical imaging based on voltage-sensitive dyes, we studied numerically a very large-scale ( approximately 5 x 10(5)) conductance-based, integrate-and-fire neuronal network model of an approximately 16-mm(2) patch of 64 orientation hypercolumns, which incorporates both isotropic local couplings and lateral orientation-specific long-range connections with a slow NMDA component. A dynamic scenario of an intermittent desuppressed state (IDS) is identified in the computational model, which is a dynamic state of (i) high conductance, (ii) strong inhibition, and (iii) large fluctuations that arise from intermittent spiking events that are strongly correlated in time as well as in orientation domains, with the correlation time of the fluctuations controlled by the NMDA decay time scale. Our simulation results demonstrate that the IDS state captures numerically many aspects of experimental observation related to spontaneous ongoing activity, and the specific network mechanism of the IDS may suggest cortical mechanisms and the cortical operating point underlying observed spontaneous activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Models, Biological*
  • N-Methylaspartate / metabolism
  • Nerve Net*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*


  • N-Methylaspartate