Awake perception is associated with dedicated neuronal assemblies in cerebral cortex.

Anton Filipchuk, Alain Destexhe and Brice Bathellier

bioRxiv preprint:

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Neural activity in sensory cortex combines stimulus responses and ongoing activity, but it remains unclear whether they reflect the same underlying dynamics or separate processes. Here we show that during wakefulness, the neuronal assemblies evoked by sounds in the auditory cortex and thalamus are specific to the stimulus and distinct from the assemblies observed in ongoing activity. In contrast, during anesthesia, evoked assemblies are indistinguishable from ongoing assemblies in cortex, while they remain distinct in the thalamus. A strong remapping of sensory responses accompanies this dynamical state change produced by anesthesia. Together, these results show that the awake cortex engages dedicated neuronal assemblies in response to sensory inputs, which we suggest is a network correlate of sensory perception.
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