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Elife. 2017 Apr 18;6. pii: e21409. doi: 10.7554/eLife.21409.

Dynamic range adaptation in primary motor cortical populations.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States.
Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, United States.
Department of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, United States.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, United States.


Neural populations from various sensory regions demonstrate dynamic range adaptation in response to changes in the statistical distribution of their input stimuli. These adaptations help optimize the transmission of information about sensory inputs. Here, we show a similar effect in the firing rates of primary motor cortical cells. We trained monkeys to operate a brain-computer interface in both two- and three-dimensional virtual environments. We found that neurons in primary motor cortex exhibited a change in the amplitude of their directional tuning curves between the two tasks. We then leveraged the simultaneous nature of the recordings to test several hypotheses about the population-based mechanisms driving these changes and found that the results are most consistent with dynamic range adaptation. Our results demonstrate that dynamic range adaptation is neither limited to sensory regions nor to rescaling of monotonic stimulus intensity tuning curves, but may rather represent a canonical feature of neural encoding.


brain-computer interface; computational biology; dynamic range adaptation; motor control; neuroscience; primary motor cortex; rhesus macaque; systems biology

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