by Keyword: cortical networks

Ahmad, J, Ellis, C, Leech, R, Voytek, B, Garces, P, Jones, E, Buitelaar, J, Loth, E, dos Santos, FP, Amil, AF, Verschure, PFMJ, Murphy, D, McAlonan, G, (2022). From mechanisms to markers: novel noninvasive EEG proxy markers of the neural excitation and inhibition system in humans Translational Psychiatry 12, 467

Brain function is a product of the balance between excitatory and inhibitory (E/I) brain activity. Variation in the regulation of this activity is thought to give rise to normal variation in human traits, and disruptions are thought to potentially underlie a spectrum of neuropsychiatric conditions (e.g., Autism, Schizophrenia, Downs' Syndrome, intellectual disability). Hypotheses related to E/I dysfunction have the potential to provide cross-diagnostic explanations and to combine genetic and neurological evidence that exists within and between psychiatric conditions. However, the hypothesis has been difficult to test because: (1) it lacks specificity-an E/I dysfunction could pertain to any level in the neural system- neurotransmitters, single neurons/receptors, local networks of neurons, or global brain balance - most researchers do not define the level at which they are examining E/I function; (2) We lack validated methods for assessing E/I function at any of these neural levels in humans. As a result, it has not been possible to reliably or robustly test the E/I hypothesis of psychiatric disorders in a large cohort or longitudinal patient studies. Currently available, in vivo markers of E/I in humans either carry significant risks (e.g., deep brain electrode recordings or using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with radioactive tracers) and/or are highly restrictive (e.g., limited spatial extent for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). More recently, a range of novel Electroencephalography (EEG) features has been described, which could serve as proxy markers for E/I at a given level of inference. Thus, in this perspective review, we survey the theories and experimental evidence underlying 6 novel EEG markers and their biological underpinnings at a specific neural level. These cheap-to-record and scalable proxy markers may offer clinical utility for identifying subgroups within and between diagnostic categories, thus directing more tailored sub-grouping and, therefore, treatment strategies. However, we argue that studies in clinical populations are premature. To maximize the potential of prospective EEG markers, we first need to understand the link between underlying E/I mechanisms and measurement techniques.

JTD Keywords: Cortical networks, Direction selectivity, Excitation/inhibition balance, Fast network oscillations, Gaba concentration, Gamma oscillation frequency, Neuronal oscillations, Range temporal correlations, Self-organized criticality, Theta-oscillations

Amil, Adrián Fernández, Verschure, Paul F.M.J., (2021). Supercritical dynamics at the edge-of-chaos underlies optimal decision-making Journal Of Physics-Complexity 2,

Abstract Critical dynamics, characterized by scale-free neuronal avalanches, is thought to underlie optimal function in the sensory cortices by maximizing information transmission, capacity, and dynamic range. In contrast, deviations from criticality have not yet been considered to support any cognitive processes. Nonetheless, neocortical areas related to working memory and decision-making seem to rely on long-lasting periods of ignition-like persistent firing. Such firing patterns are reminiscent of supercritical states where runaway excitation dominates the circuit dynamics. In addition, a macroscopic gradient of the relative density of Somatostatin (SST+) and Parvalbumin (PV+) inhibitory interneurons throughout the cortical hierarchy has been suggested to determine the functional specialization of low- versus high-order cortex. These observations thus raise the question of whether persistent activity in high-order areas results from the intrinsic features of the neocortical circuitry. We used an attractor model of the canonical cortical circuit performing a perceptual decision-making task to address this question. Our model reproduces the known saddle-node bifurcation where persistent activity emerges, merely by increasing the SST+/PV+ ratio while keeping the input and recurrent excitation constant. The regime beyond such a phase transition renders the circuit increasingly sensitive to random fluctuations of the inputs -i.e., chaotic-, defining an optimal SST+/PV+ ratio around the edge-of-chaos. Further, we show that both the optimal SST+/PV+ ratio and the region of the phase transition decrease monotonically with increasing input noise. This suggests that cortical circuits regulate their intrinsic dynamics via inhibitory interneurons to attain optimal sensitivity in the face of varying uncertainty. Hence, on the one hand, we link the emergence of supercritical dynamics at the edge-of-chaos to the gradient of the SST+/PV+ ratio along the cortical hierarchy, and, on the other hand, explain the behavioral effects of the differential regulation of SST+ and PV+ interneurons by neuromodulators like acetylcholine in the presence of input uncertainty.

JTD Keywords: attractor model, cortex, cortical networks, edge-of-chaos, model, nmda receptors, Attractor model, Cortical hierarchies, Decision making, Dynamics, Edge of chaos, Edge-of-chaos, High-order, Higher-order, Inhibitory interneurons, Neurons, Optimal decision making, Persistent activities, Persistent activity, Supercritical, Supercriticality