Understanding why identical stimuli give differing neuronal responses and percepts is a central challenge in research on attention and consciousness. Ongoing oscillations reflect functional states that bias processing of incoming signals through amplitude and phase. It is not known, however, whether the effect of phase or amplitude on stimulus processing depends on the long-term global dynamics of the networks generating the oscillations. Here, we show, using a computational model, that the ability of networks to regulate stimulus response based on pre-stimulus activity requires near-critical dynamics—a dynamical state that emerges from networks with balanced excitation and inhibition, and that is characterized by scale-free fluctuations. We also find that networks exhibiting critical oscillations produce differing responses to the largest range of stimulus intensities. Thus, the brain may bring its dynamics close to the critical state whenever such network versatility is required.
Source code required to run all simulations, as well as datasets and scripts required to generate all figures presented here, are available on figshare.
- Richard Hardstone
- Klaus Linkenkaer-Hansen
- Arthur-Ervin Avramiea
- Klaus Linkenkaer-Hansen
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Floris P de Lange, Radboud University, Netherlands
© 2020, Avramiea et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The presynaptic protein α-synuclein (αSyn) has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In PD, the amygdala is prone to develop insoluble αSyn aggregates, and it has been suggested that circuit dysfunction involving the amygdala contributes to the psychiatric symptoms. Yet, how αSyn aggregates affect amygdala function is unknown. In this study, we examined αSyn in glutamatergic axon terminals and the impact of its aggregation on glutamatergic transmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA). We found that αSyn is primarily present in the vesicular glutamate transporter 1-expressing (vGluT1+) terminals in mouse BLA, which is consistent with higher levels of αSyn expression in vGluT1+ glutamatergic neurons in the cerebral cortex relative to the vGluT2+ glutamatergic neurons in the thalamus. We found that αSyn aggregation selectively decreased the cortico-BLA, but not the thalamo-BLA, transmission; and that cortico-BLA synapses displayed enhanced short-term depression upon repetitive stimulation. In addition, using confocal microscopy, we found that vGluT1+ axon terminals exhibited decreased levels of soluble αSyn, which suggests that lower levels of soluble αSyn might underlie the enhanced short-term depression of cortico-BLA synapses. In agreement with this idea, we found that cortico-BLA synaptic depression was also enhanced in αSyn knockout mice. In conclusion, both basal and dynamic cortico-BLA transmission were disrupted by abnormal aggregation of αSyn and these changes might be relevant to the perturbed cortical control of the amygdala that has been suggested to play a role in psychiatric symptoms in PD.
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