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Excitation - inhibition

Dag Stenberg dag.stenberg at nospam.helsinki.fi.invalid
Tue May 20 01:40:46 EST 2003

Shu Y, Hasenstaub A, McCormick DA
Turning on and off recurrent balanced cortical activity
Nature 423(6937) : 288-93 (2003)

The vast majority of synaptic connections onto neurons in the cerebral
cortex arise from other cortical neurons, both excitatory and
inhibitory, forming local and distant 'recurrent' networks. Although
this is a basic theme of cortical organization, its study has been
limited largely to theoretical investigations, which predict that local
recurrent networks show a proportionality or balance between recurrent
excitation and inhibition, allowing the generation of stable periods of
activity. This recurrent activity might underlie such diverse operations
as short-term memory, the modulation of neuronal excitability with
attention, and the generation of spontaneous activity during sleep. Here
we show that local cortical circuits do indeed operate through a
proportional balance of excitation and inhibition generated through
local recurrent connections, and that the operation of such circuits can
generate self-sustaining activity that can be turned on and off by
synaptic inputs. These results confirm the long-hypothesized role of
recurrent activity as a basic operation of the cerebral cortex. 

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