Experimental evidence for sparse firing in the neocortex.

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Abstract or Description

The advent of unbiased recording and imaging techniques to evaluate firing activity across neocortical neurons has revealed substantial heterogeneity in response properties in vivo, and that a minority of neurons are responsible for the majority of spikes. Despite the computational advantages to sparsely firing populations, experimental data defining the fraction of responsive neurons and the range of firing rates have not been synthesized. Here we review data about the distribution of activity across neuronal populations in primary sensory cortex. Overall, the firing output of granular and infragranular layers is highest. Although subthreshold activity across supragranular neurons is decidedly non-sparse, spikes are much less frequent and some cells are silent. Superficial layers of the cortex may employ specific cell and circuit mechanisms to increase sparseness.




Published In

Trends in neurosciences, 35, 6, 345-355.