Modulation of intercolumnar synchronization by endogenous electric fields in cerebral cortex.

Beatriz Rebollo, Bartosz Telenczuk, Alvaro Navarro-Guzman, Alain Destexhe, and Maria V. Sanchez-Vives.

Science Advances 7: eabc7772, 2021.

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Neurons synaptically interacting in a conductive medium generate extracellular endogenous electric fields (EFs) that reciprocally affect membrane potential. Exogenous EFs modulate neuronal activity, and their clinical applications are being profusely explored. However, whether endogenous EFs contribute to network synchronization remains unclear. We analyzed spontaneously generated slow-wave activity in the cerebral cortex network in vitro, which allowed us to distinguish synaptic from nonsynaptic mechanisms of activity propagation and synchronization. Slow oscillations generated EFs that propagated independently of synaptic transmission. We demonstrate that cortical oscillations modulate spontaneous rhythmic activity of neighboring synaptically disconnected cortical columns if layers are aligned. We provide experimental evidence that these EF-mediated effects are compatible with electric dipoles. With a model of interacting dipoles, we reproduce the experimental measurements and predict that endogenous EF-mediated synchronizing effects should be relevant in the brain. Thus, experiments and models suggest that electric-dipole interactions contribute to synchronization of neighboring cortical columns.

Program code and data

The program codes of the mean-field model (in python) are available at Zenodo: B.T. Telenczuk, B. Rebollo, A. Navarro-Guzman, M. Sanchez-Vives, and A. Destexhe. Python code for mean-field model of electric-field interactions in cerebral cortex. Zenodo 4432866, 2021.

Data associated with the article can be found in Zenodo: B. Rebollo, A. Navarro-Guzman, B. Telenczuk, A. Destexhe, and M. V. Sanchez-Vives. Data associated with "Modulation of intercolumnar synchronization by endogenous electric fields in cerebral cortex". Zenodo 4437568, 2021.

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