Neuronal avalanches differ from wakefulness to deep sleep - evidence from intracranial depth recordings in humans

  • Neuronal activity differs between wakefulness and sleep states. In contrast, an attractor state, called self-organized critical (SOC), was proposed to govern brain dynamics because it allows for optimal information coding. But is the human brain SOC for each vigilance state despite the variations in neuronal dynamics? We characterized neuronal avalanches – spatiotemporal waves of enhanced activity - from dense intracranial depth recordings in humans. We showed that avalanche distributions closely follow a power law – the hallmark feature of SOC - for each vigilance state. However, avalanches clearly differ with vigilance states: slow wave sleep (SWS) shows large avalanches, wakefulness intermediate, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep small ones. Our SOC model, together with the data, suggested first that the differences are mediated by global but tiny changes in synaptic strength, and second, that the changes with vigilance states reflect small deviations from criticality to the subcritical regime, implying that the human brain does not operate at criticality proper but close to SOC. Independent of criticality, the analysis confirms that SWS shows increased correlations between cortical areas, and reveals that REM sleep shows more fragmented cortical dynamics.

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Author:Viola PriesemannORCiDGND, Mario Valderrama, Michael WibralORCiDGND, Michel Le Van Quyen
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):PLoS Computational Biology
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Place of publication:San Francisco, Calif.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2013/02/21
Date of first Publication:2013/02/21
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/04/08
Issue:(3): e1002985
Page Number:14
First Page:1
Last Page:14
Copyright: © 2013 Priesemann et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0