Cell Assembly Dynamics of Sparsely-Connected Inhibitory Networks: A Simple Model for the Collective Activity of Striatal Projection Neurons

PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Feb 25;12(2):e1004778. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004778. eCollection 2016 Feb.


Striatal projection neurons form a sparsely-connected inhibitory network, and this arrangement may be essential for the appropriate temporal organization of behavior. Here we show that a simplified, sparse inhibitory network of Leaky-Integrate-and-Fire neurons can reproduce some key features of striatal population activity, as observed in brain slices. In particular we develop a new metric to determine the conditions under which sparse inhibitory networks form anti-correlated cell assemblies with time-varying activity of individual cells. We find that under these conditions the network displays an input-specific sequence of cell assembly switching, that effectively discriminates similar inputs. Our results support the proposal that GABAergic connections between striatal projection neurons allow stimulus-selective, temporally-extended sequential activation of cell assemblies. Furthermore, we help to show how altered intrastriatal GABAergic signaling may produce aberrant network-level information processing in disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*