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Neuron. 2010 Dec 22;68(6):1043-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.11.029.

An embedded subnetwork of highly active neurons in the neocortex.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

VIDEO ABSTRACT:

Unbiased methods to assess the firing activity of individual neurons in the neocortex have revealed that a large proportion of cells fire at extremely low rates (<0.1 Hz), both in their spontaneous and evoked activity. Thus, firing in neocortical networks appears to be dominated by a small population of highly active neurons. Here, we use a fosGFP transgenic mouse to examine the properties of cells with a recent history of elevated activity. FosGFP-expressing layer 2/3 pyramidal cells fired at higher rates compared to fosGFP(-) neurons, both in vivo and in vitro. Elevated activity could be attributed to increased excitatory and decreased inhibitory drive to fosGFP(+) neurons. Paired-cell recordings indicated that fosGFP(+) neurons had a greater likelihood of being connected to each other. These findings indicate that highly active, interconnected neuronal ensembles are present in the neocortex and suggest these cells may play a role in the encoding of sensory information.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21172607
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3022325
Free PMC Article
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