Selective adaptation in networks of cortical neurons.

Faculties of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 31096, Israel.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 11/2003; 23(28):9349-56.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A key property of neural systems is their ability to adapt selectively to stimuli with different features. Using multisite electrical recordings from networks of cortical neurons developing ex vivo, we show that neurons adapt selectively to different stimuli invading the network. We focus on selective adaptation to frequent and rare stimuli; networks were stimulated at two sites with two different stimulus frequencies. When both stimuli were presented within the same period, neurons in the network attenuated their responsiveness to the more frequent input, whereas their responsiveness to the rarely delivered stimuli showed a marked average increase. The amplification of the response to rare stimuli required the presence of the other, more frequent stimulation source. By contrast, the decreased response to the frequent stimuli occurred regardless of the presence of the rare stimuli. Analysis of the response of single units suggests that both of these effects are caused by changes in synaptic transmission. By using synaptic blockers, we find that the increased responsiveness to the rarely stimulated site depends specifically on fast GABAergic transmission. Thus, excitatory synaptic depression, the inhibitory sub-network, and their balance play an active role in generating selective gain control. The observation that selective adaptation arises naturally in a network of cortical neurons developing ex vivo indicates that this is an inherent feature of spontaneously organizing cortical networks.

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