Development of neural circuitry for precise temporal sequences through spontaneous activity, axon remodeling, and synaptic plasticity

Joseph K. Jun, Dezhe Z. Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Temporally precise sequences of neuronal spikes that span hundreds of milliseconds are observed in many brain areas, including songbird premotor nucleus, cat visual cortex, and primary motor cortex. Synfire chains - networks in which groups of neurons are connected via excitatory synapses into a unidirectional chain - are thought to underlie the generation of such sequences. It is unknown, however, how synfire chains can form in local neural circuits, especially for long chains. Here, we show through computer simulation that long synfire chains can develop through spike-time dependent synaptic plasticity and axon remodeling - the pruning of prolific weak connections that follows the emergence of a finite number of strong connections. The formation process begins with a random network. A subset of neurons, called training neurons, intermittently receive superthreshold external input. Gradually, a synfire chain emerges through a recruiting process, in which neurons within the network connect to the tail of the chain started by the training neurons. The model is robust to varying parameters, as well as natural events like neuronal turnover and massive lesions. Our model suggests that long synfire chain can form during the development through self-organization, and axon remodeling, ubiquitous in developing neural circuits, is essential in the process. Copyright:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere723
JournalPloS one
Volume2
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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