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Biophys J. 2008 Sep 15;95(6):2722-7. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.108.134635. Epub 2008 Jun 27.

Neuronal synchrony during anesthesia: a thalamocortical model.

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Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, United Kingdom.


There is growing evidence in favor of the temporal-coding hypothesis that temporal correlation of neuronal discharges may serve to bind distributed neuronal activity into unique representations and, in particular, that theta (3.5-7.5 Hz) and delta (0.5 < 3.5 Hz) oscillations facilitate information coding. The theta- and delta-rhythms are shown to be involved in various sleep stages, and during anesthesia, they undergo changes with the depth of anesthesia. We introduce a thalamocortical model of interacting neuronal ensembles to describe phase relationships between theta- and delta-oscillations, especially during deep and light anesthesia. Asymmetric and long-range interactions among the thalamocortical neuronal oscillators are taken into account. The model results are compared with experimental observations. The delta- and theta-activities are found to be separately generated and are governed by the thalamus and cortex, respectively. Changes in the degree of intraensemble and interensemble synchrony imply that the neuronal ensembles inhibit information coding during deep anesthesia and facilitate it during light anesthesia.

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