Transient dynamics and rhythm coordination of inferior olive spatio-temporal patterns.

Frontiers in neural circuits

PubMedID: 24046731

Latorre R, Aguirre C, Rabinovich MI, Varona P. Transient dynamics and rhythm coordination of inferior olive spatio-temporal patterns. Front Neural Circuits. 2013;7138.
The inferior olive (IO) is a neural network belonging to the olivo-cerebellar system whose neurons are coupled with electrical synapses and display subthreshold oscillations and spiking activity. The IO is frequently proposed as the generator of timing signals to the cerebellum. Electrophysiological and imaging recordings show that the IO network generates complex spatio-temporal patterns. The generation and modulation of coherent spiking activity in the IO is one key issue in cerebellar research. In this work, we build a large scale IO network model of electrically coupled conductance-based neurons to study the emerging spatio-temporal patterns of its transient neuronal activity. Our modeling reproduces and helps to understand important phenomena observed in IO in vitro and in vivo experiments, and draws new predictions regarding the computational properties of this network and the associated cerebellar circuits. The main factors studied governing the collective dynamics of the IO network were: the degree of electrical coupling, the extent of the electrotonic connections, the presence of stimuli or regions with different excitability levels and the modulatory effect of an inhibitory loop (IL). The spatio-temporal patterns were analyzed using a discrete wavelet transform to provide a quantitative characterization. Our results show that the electrotonic coupling produces quasi-synchronized subthreshold oscillations over a wide dynamical range. The synchronized oscillatory activity plays the role of a timer for a coordinated representation of spiking rhythms with different frequencies. The encoding and coexistence of several coordinated rhythms is related to the different clusterization and coherence of transient spatio-temporal patterns in the network, where the spiking activity is commensurate with the quasi-synchronized subthreshold oscillations. In the presence of stimuli, different rhythms are encoded in the spiking activity of the IO neurons that nevertheless remains constrained to a commensurate value of the subthreshold frequency. The stimuli induced spatio-temporal patterns can reverberate for long periods, which contributes to the computational properties of the IO. We also show that the presence of regions with different excitability levels creates sinks and sources of coordinated activity which shape the propagation of spike wave fronts. These results can be generalized beyond IO studies, as the control of wave pattern propagation is a highly relevant problem in the context of normal and pathological states in neural systems (e. g. , related to tremor, migraine, epilepsy) where the study of the modulation of activity sinks and sources can have a potential large impact.