We study the influence of subthreshold activity in the estimation of synaptic conductances. It is known that differences between actual conductances and the estimated ones using linear regression methods can be huge in spiking regimes, so caution has been taken to remove spiking activity from experimental data before proceeding to linear estimation. However, not much attention has been paid to the influence of ionic currents active in the non-spiking regime where such linear methods are still profusely used. In this paper, we use conductance-based models to test this influence using several representative mechanisms to induce ionic subthreshold activity. In all the cases, we show that the currents activated during subthreshold activity can lead to significant errors when estimating synaptic conductance linearly. Thus, our results add a new warning message when extracting conductance traces from intracellular recordings and the conclusions concerning neuronal activity that can be drawn from them. Additionally, we present, as a proof of concept, an alternative method that takes into account the main nonlinear effects of specific ionic subthreshold currents. This method, based on the quadratization of the subthreshold dynamics, allows us to reduce the relative errors of the estimated conductances by more than one order of magnitude. In experimental conditions, under appropriate fitting to canonical models, it could be useful to obtain better estimations as well even under the presence of noise.
Neuronal gamma oscillations have been described in local field potentials of different brain regions of multiple species. Gamma oscillations are thought to reflect rhythmic synaptic activity organized by inhibitory interneurons. While several aspects of gamma rhythmogenesis are relatively well understood, we have much less solid evidence about how gamma oscillations contribute to information processing in neuronal circuits. One popular hypothesis states that a flexible routing of information between distant populations occurs via the control of the phase or coherence between their respective oscillations. Here, we investigate how a mismatch between the frequencies of gamma oscillations from two populations affects their interaction. In particular, we explore a biophysical model of the reciprocal interaction between two cortical areas displaying gamma oscillations at different frequencies, and quantify their phase coherence and communication efficiency. We observed that a moderate excitatory coupling between the two areas leads to a decrease in their frequency detuning, up to similar to 6 Hz, with no frequency locking arising between the gamma peaks. Importantly, for similar gamma peak frequencies a zero phase difference emerges for both LFP and MUA despite small axonal delays. For increasing frequency detunings we found a significant decrease in the phase coherence (at non-zero phase lag) between the MUAs but not the LFPs of the two areas. Such difference between LFPs and MUAs behavior is due to the misalignment between the arrival of afferent synaptic currents and the local excitability windows. To test the efficiency of communication we evaluated the success of transferring rate-modulations between the two areas. Our results indicate that once two populations lock their peak frequencies, an optimal phase relation for communication appears. However, the sensitivity of locking to frequency mismatch suggests that only a precise and active control of gamma frequency could enable the selection of communication channels and their directionality.
The retino-tecto-rotundal pathway is the main visual pathway in nonmammalian vertebrates and has been found to be highly involved in visual processing. Despite the extensive receptive fields of tectal and rotundal wide-field neurons, pattern discrimination tasks suggest a system with high spatial resolution. In this paper, we address the problem of how global processing
performed by motion-sensitive wide-field neurons can be brought into agreement with the concept of a local analysis of visual stimuli. As a solution to this problem, we propose a firing-rate model of the retino-tectorotundal pathway which describes how spatiotemporal information can be organized and retained by tectal and rotundal wide-field neurons while processing Fourier-based motion in absence of periodic receptive-field structures.
The model incorporates anatomical and electrophysiological experimental data on tectal and rotundal neurons, and the basic response characteristics of tectal and rotundal neurons to moving stimuli are captured by the model cells. We show that local velocity estimates may be derived from
rotundal-cell responses via superposition in a subsequent processing step.
Experimentally testable predictions which are both specific and characteristic to the model are provided. Thus, a conlusive explanation can be given of how the retino-tecto-rotundal pathway enables the animal to detect and localize moving objects or to estimate its self-motion parameters.