The cell-type specific cortical microcircuit: relating structure and activity in a full-scale spiking network model

Cereb Cortex. 2014 Mar;24(3):785-806. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhs358. Epub 2012 Dec 2.


In the past decade, the cell-type specific connectivity and activity of local cortical networks have been characterized experimentally to some detail. In parallel, modeling has been established as a tool to relate network structure to activity dynamics. While available comprehensive connectivity maps ( Thomson, West, et al. 2002; Binzegger et al. 2004) have been used in various computational studies, prominent features of the simulated activity such as the spontaneous firing rates do not match the experimental findings. Here, we analyze the properties of these maps to compile an integrated connectivity map, which additionally incorporates insights on the specific selection of target types. Based on this integrated map, we build a full-scale spiking network model of the local cortical microcircuit. The simulated spontaneous activity is asynchronous irregular and cell-type specific firing rates are in agreement with in vivo recordings in awake animals, including the low rate of layer 2/3 excitatory cells. The interplay of excitation and inhibition captures the flow of activity through cortical layers after transient thalamic stimulation. In conclusion, the integration of a large body of the available connectivity data enables us to expose the dynamical consequences of the cortical microcircuitry.

Keywords: connectivity maps; cortical microcircuit; large-scale models; layered network; specificity of connections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*