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Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jan 22;15(3):449-55, S1-2. doi: 10.1038/nn.3036.

Activity recall in a visual cortical ensemble.

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Institute of Neuroscience, State Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.


Cue-triggered recall of learned temporal sequences is an important cognitive function that has been attributed to higher brain areas. Here recordings in both anesthetized and awake rats demonstrate that after repeated stimulation with a moving spot that evoked sequential firing of an ensemble of primary visual cortex (V1) neurons, just a brief flash at the starting point of the motion path was sufficient to evoke a sequential firing pattern that reproduced the activation order evoked by the moving spot. The speed of recalled spike sequences may reflect the internal dynamics of the network rather than the motion speed. In awake rats, such recall was observed during a synchronized ('quiet wakeful') brain state having large-amplitude, low-frequency local field potential (LFP) but not in a desynchronized ('active') state having low-amplitude, high-frequency LFP. Such conditioning-enhanced, cue-evoked sequential spiking of a V1 ensemble may contribute to experience-based perceptual inference in a brain state-dependent manner.

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