4 years ago

Systematic population spike delays across cortical layers within and between primary sensory areas

Christoph M. Michel, Charles Quairiaux, Gijs Plomp
The coordinated propagation of activity across cortical layers enables simultaneous local computation and inter-areal interactions. A pattern of upward propagation from deeper to more superficial layers, which has been repeatedly demonstrated in spontaneous activity, would allow these functions to occur in parallel. But it remains unclear whether upward propagation also occurs for stimulus evoked activity, and how it relates to activity in other cortical areas. Here we used a new method to analyze relative delays between spikes obtained from simultaneous laminar recordings in primary sensory cortex (S1) of both hemispheres. The results identified systematic spike delays across cortical layers that showed a general upward propagation of activity in evoked and spontaneous activity. Systematic spike delays were also observed between hemispheres. After spikes in one S1 the delays in the other S1 were shortest at infragranular layers and increased in the upward direction. Model comparisons furthermore showed that upward propagation was better explained as a step-wise progression over cortical layers than as a traveling wave. The results are in line with the notion that upward propagation functionally integrates activity into local processing at superficial layers, while efficiently allowing for simultaneous inter-areal interactions.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15611-2

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15611-2

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