Title: Strong neuron-to-body coupling implies weak neuron-to-neuron coupling in motor cortex
Speaker: Woodrow Shew
University of Arkansas | Department of Physics
Abstract: Cortical neurons can be strongly or weakly coupled to the network in which they are embedded, firing in sync with the majority or firing independently. Both these scenarios have potential computational advantages in motor cortex. Commands to the body might be more robustly conveyed by a strongly coupled population, whereas a motor code with greater information capacity could be implemented by neurons that fire more independently. Which of these scenarios prevails? Here we measure neuron-to-body coupling and neuron-to-population coupling for neurons in motor cortex of freely moving rats. We find that neurons with high and low population coupling coexist, and that population coupling was tunable by manipulating inhibitory signaling. Importantly, neurons with different population coupling tend to serve different functional roles. Those with strong population coupling are not involved with body movement. In contrast, neurons with high neuron-to-body coupling are weakly coupled to other neurons in the cortical population.