Multiple states in ongoing neural activity in the rat visual cortex

PLoS One. 2021 Aug 26;16(8):e0256791. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0256791. eCollection 2021.


The brain continuously produces internal activity in the absence of afferently salient sensory input. Spontaneous neural activity is intrinsically defined by circuit structures and associated with the mode of information processing and behavioral responses. However, the spatiotemporal dynamics of spontaneous activity in the visual cortices of behaving animals remain almost elusive. Using a custom-made electrode array, we recorded 32-site electrocorticograms in the primary and secondary visual cortex of freely behaving rats and determined the propagation patterns of spontaneous neural activity. Nonlinear dimensionality reduction and unsupervised clustering revealed multiple discrete states of the activity patterns. The activity remained stable in one state and suddenly jumped to another state. The diversity and dynamics of the internally switching cortical states would imply flexibility of neural responses to various external inputs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrocorticography
  • Electrodes
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*

Grants and funding

This work was supported by JST Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) (JPMJER1801), JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (18H05525, 20K15926), Strategic International Brain Science Research Promotion Program from Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) (18dm0307007h0001), and Institute for AI and Beyond of the University of Tokyo.