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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23412. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023412. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Theory of electric resonance in the neocortical apical dendrite.

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Stanley Laboratory of Electrical Physics, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States of America.


Pyramidal neurons of the neocortex display a wide range of synchronous EEG rhythms, which arise from electric activity along the apical dendrites of neocortical pyramidal neurons. Here we present a theoretical description of oscillation frequency profiles along apical dendrites which exhibit resonance frequencies in the range of 10 to 100 Hz. The apical dendrite is modeled as a leaky coaxial cable coated with a dielectric, in which a series of compartments act as coupled electric circuits that gradually narrow the resonance profile. The tuning of the peak frequency is assumed to be controlled by the average amplitude of voltage-gated outward currents, which in turn are regulated by the subthreshold noise in the thousands of synaptic spines that are continuously bombarded by local circuits. The results of simulations confirmed the ability of the model both to tune the peak frequency in the 10-100 Hz range and to gradually narrow the resonance profile. Considerable additional narrowing of the resonance profile is provided by repeated looping through the apical dendrite via the corticothalamocortical circuit, which reduced the width of each resonance curve (at half-maximum) to approximately 1 Hz. Synaptic noise in the neural circuit is discussed in relation to the ways it can influence the narrowing process.

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