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Nat Neurosci. 2013 Oct;16(10):1426-35. doi: 10.1038/nn.3499. Epub 2013 Aug 25.

Spontaneous cortical activity alternates between motifs defined by regional axonal projections.

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1] Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [2] Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. [3] [4].


Using millisecond-timescale voltage-sensitive dye imaging in lightly anesthetized or awake adult mice, we show that a palette of sensory-evoked and hemisphere-wide activity motifs are represented in spontaneous activity. These motifs can reflect multiple modes of sensory processing, including vision, audition and touch. We found similar cortical networks with direct cortical activation using channelrhodopsin-2. Regional analysis of activity spread indicated modality-specific sources, such as primary sensory areas, a common posterior-medial cortical sink where sensory activity was extinguished within the parietal association area and a secondary anterior medial sink within the cingulate and secondary motor cortices for visual stimuli. Correlation analysis between functional circuits and intracortical axonal projections indicated a common framework corresponding to long-range monosynaptic connections between cortical regions. Maps of intracortical monosynaptic structural connections predicted hemisphere-wide patterns of spontaneous and sensory-evoked depolarization. We suggest that an intracortical monosynaptic connectome shapes the ebb and flow of spontaneous cortical activity.

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