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PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 Feb 2;13(2):e1005343. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005343. eCollection 2017 Feb.

Correlation-based model of artificially induced plasticity in motor cortex by a bidirectional brain-computer interface.

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University of Washington Institute for Neuroengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Groupe de recherche sur le système nerveux central, Département de neurosciences, Université de Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
Dept. of Physics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


Experiments show that spike-triggered stimulation performed with Bidirectional Brain-Computer-Interfaces (BBCI) can artificially strengthen connections between separate neural sites in motor cortex (MC). When spikes from a neuron recorded at one MC site trigger stimuli at a second target site after a fixed delay, the connections between sites eventually strengthen. It was also found that effective spike-stimulus delays are consistent with experimentally derived spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) rules, suggesting that STDP is key to drive these changes. However, the impact of STDP at the level of circuits, and the mechanisms governing its modification with neural implants remain poorly understood. The present work describes a recurrent neural network model with probabilistic spiking mechanisms and plastic synapses capable of capturing both neural and synaptic activity statistics relevant to BBCI conditioning protocols. Our model successfully reproduces key experimental results, both established and new, and offers mechanistic insights into spike-triggered conditioning. Using analytical calculations and numerical simulations, we derive optimal operational regimes for BBCIs, and formulate predictions concerning the efficacy of spike-triggered conditioning in different regimes of cortical activity.

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