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Models of cortical networks with long-range patchy projections

Nicole Voges1, 2, 4 Contact Information, Christian Guijarro2, Ad Aertsen1, 2 and Stefan Rotter1, 3

(1)  Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Freiburg, Albert-Ludwig University, Freiburg, Germany
(2)  Neurobiology & Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, Albert-Ludwig University, Freiburg, Germany
(3)  Computational Neuroscience, Faculty of Biology, Albert-Ludwig University, Freiburg, Germany
(4)  Present address: INSERM, UMR 751 Universite Aix-Marseille, 27 Bd Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 05, France

Received: 13 November 2008  Revised: 25 August 2009  Accepted: 1 October 2009  Published online: 29 October 2009

Action Editor: Alessandro Treves
Abstract  The cortex exhibits an intricate vertical and horizontal architecture, the latter often featuring spatially clustered projection patterns, so-called patches. Many network studies of cortical dynamics ignore such spatial structures and assume purely random wiring. Here, we focus on non-random network structures provided by long-range horizontal (patchy) connections that remain inside the gray matter. We investigate how the spatial arrangement of patchy projections influences global network topology and predict its impact on the activity dynamics of the network. Since neuroanatomical data on horizontal projections is rather sparse, we suggest and compare four candidate scenarios of how patchy connections may be established. To identify a set of characteristic network properties that enables us to pin down the differences between the resulting network models, we employ the framework of stochastic graph theory. We find that patchy projections provide an exceptionally efficient way of wiring, as the resulting networks tend to exhibit small-world properties with significantly reduced wiring costs. Furthermore, the eigenvalue spectra, as well as the structure of common in- and output of the networks suggest that different spatial connectivity patterns support distinct types of activity propagation.

Keywords  Cortical network model - Horizontal synaptic connectivity - Wiring optimization - Stochastic graph theory

Contact Information Nicole Voges
Email: nicole.voges@incm.cnrs-mrs.fr
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