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Coordinated neuronal ensembles in primary auditory cortical columns.

  • Author(s): See, Jermyn Z
  • Atencio, Craig A
  • Sohal, Vikaas S
  • Schreiner, Christoph E
  • et al.
Abstract

The synchronous activity of groups of neurons is increasingly thought to be important in cortical information processing and transmission. However, most studies of processing in the primary auditory cortex (AI) have viewed neurons as independent filters; little is known about how coordinated AI neuronal activity is expressed throughout cortical columns and how it might enhance the processing of auditory information. To address this, we recorded from populations of neurons in AI cortical columns of anesthetized rats and, using dimensionality reduction techniques, identified multiple coordinated neuronal ensembles (cNEs), which are groups of neurons with reliable synchronous activity. We show that cNEs reflect local network configurations with enhanced information encoding properties that cannot be accounted for by stimulus-driven synchronization alone. Furthermore, similar cNEs were identified in both spontaneous and evoked activity, indicating that columnar cNEs are stable functional constructs that may represent principal units of information processing in AI.

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