Modulation of cortical circuits by top-down processing and arousal state in health and disease

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Oct;52:172-181. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2018.06.008. Epub 2018 Jul 29.


In this review, we explore how contextual modulations of sensory processing are implemented within the local cortical circuit. We focus on contextual influences of global arousal state (e.g. how alert am I?), sensory predictions (e.g. which stimuli do I expect?), and top-down attention (what is relevant to me?). We review recent literature suggesting that these operations are implemented throughout sensory cortices, and are mediated by excitatory and inhibitory local circuits. By focusing on the circuit mechanisms of contextual modulation operations, we may begin to understand how mutations in GABAergic interneurons and alterations in neuromodulatory signaling lead to specific deficits of information processing in neuropsychiatric disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Interneurons / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / metabolism
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / metabolism
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / physiology*