Plasticity-driven self-organization under topological constraints accounts for non-random features of cortical synaptic wiring

  • Abstract: Understanding the structure and dynamics of cortical connectivity is vital to understanding cortical function. Experimental data strongly suggest that local recurrent connectivity in the cortex is significantly non-random, exhibiting, for example, above-chance bidirectionality and an overrepresentation of certain triangular motifs. Additional evidence suggests a significant distance dependency to connectivity over a local scale of a few hundred microns, and particular patterns of synaptic turnover dynamics, including a heavy-tailed distribution of synaptic efficacies, a power law distribution of synaptic lifetimes, and a tendency for stronger synapses to be more stable over time. Understanding how many of these non-random features simultaneously arise would provide valuable insights into the development and function of the cortex. While previous work has modeled some of the individual features of local cortical wiring, there is no model that begins to comprehensively account for all of them. We present a spiking network model of a rodent Layer 5 cortical slice which, via the interactions of a few simple biologically motivated intrinsic, synaptic, and structural plasticity mechanisms, qualitatively reproduces these non-random effects when combined with simple topological constraints. Our model suggests that mechanisms of self-organization arising from a small number of plasticity rules provide a parsimonious explanation for numerous experimentally observed non-random features of recurrent cortical wiring. Interestingly, similar mechanisms have been shown to endow recurrent networks with powerful learning abilities, suggesting that these mechanism are central to understanding both structure and function of cortical synaptic wiring. Author Summary: The problem of how the brain wires itself up has important implications for the understanding of both brain development and cognition. The microscopic structure of the circuits of the adult neocortex, often considered the seat of our highest cognitive abilities, is still poorly understood. Recent experiments have provided a first set of findings on the structural features of these circuits, but it is unknown how these features come about and how they are maintained. Here we present a neural network model that shows how these features might come about. It gives rise to numerous connectivity features, which have been observed in experiments, but never before simultaneously produced by a single model. Our model explains the development of these structural features as the result of a process of self-organization. The results imply that only a few simple mechanisms and constraints are required to produce, at least to the first approximation, various characteristic features of a typical fragment of brain microcircuitry. In the absence of any of these mechanisms, simultaneous production of all desired features fails, suggesting a minimal set of necessary mechanisms for their production.
Author:Daniel Miner, Jochen TrieschORCiD
Parent Title (English):PLoS Computational Biology
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Place of publication:San Francisco, Calif.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2016/02/11
Date of first Publication:2016/02/11
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/02/17
Issue:(2): e1004759
Page Number:21
First Page:1
Last Page:21
Copyright: © 2016 Miner, Triesch. 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.
Correction erschienen in: PLoS Computational Biology, volume 12, issue 3, e1004810 (2016), doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004810
Institutes:Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0