Spike-based coupling between single neurons and populations across rat sensory cortices, perirhinal cortex, and hippocampus

Cereb Cortex. 2023 Jun 20;33(13):8247-8264. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhad111.


Cortical computations require coordination of neuronal activity within and across multiple areas. We characterized spiking relationships within and between areas by quantifying coupling of single neurons to population firing patterns. Single-neuron population coupling (SNPC) was investigated using ensemble recordings from hippocampal CA1 region and somatosensory, visual, and perirhinal cortices. Within-area coupling was heterogeneous across structures, with area CA1 showing higher levels than neocortical regions. In contrast to known anatomical connectivity, between-area coupling showed strong firing coherence of sensory neocortices with CA1, but less with perirhinal cortex. Cells in sensory neocortices and CA1 showed positive correlations between within- and between-area coupling; these were weaker for perirhinal cortex. All four areas harbored broadcasting cells, connecting to multiple external areas, which was uncorrelated to within-area coupling strength. When examining correlations between SNPC and spatial coding, we found that, if such correlations were significant, they were negative. This result was consistent with an overall preservation of SNPC across different brain states, suggesting a strong dependence on intrinsic network connectivity. Overall, SNPC offers an important window on cell-to-population synchronization in multi-area networks. Instead of pointing to specific information-coding functions, our results indicate a primary function of SNPC in dynamically organizing communication in systems composed of multiple, interconnected areas.

Keywords: brain state; multi-area networks; network dynamics; population coupling; spatial selectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiology
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe
  • Perirhinal Cortex*
  • Rats