Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Jun;20(3):306-12. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Apr 17.

Sparse and powerful cortical spikes.

Author information

Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.


Activity in cortical networks is heterogeneous, sparse and often precisely timed. The functional significance of sparseness and precise spike timing is debated, but our understanding of the developmental and synaptic mechanisms that shape neuronal discharge patterns has improved. Evidence for highly specialized, selective and abstract cortical response properties is accumulating. Singe-cell stimulation experiments demonstrate a high sensitivity of cortical networks to the action potentials of some, but not all, single neurons. It is unclear how this sensitivity of cortical networks to small perturbations comes about and whether it is a generic property of cortex. The unforeseen sensitivity to cortical spikes puts serious constraints on the nature of neural coding schemes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center