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Lateral connections synchronize population activity in a spiking neural network model of midbrain superior colliculus

Saccades are rapid and ballistic eye-head gaze shifts between points of interest in the visual field. They are crucial for gathering high-resolution visual information. The midbrain superior colliculus (SC) generates saccadic eye-movement commands for downstream oculomotor circuits. It contains an eye-centered, gaze-motor map that relates the location of a Gaussian-shaped neural population to the intended movement vector. The gaze-motor map mediates the spatiotemporal transformation for eye-head orienting gaze shifts to peripheral targets [1]. Electrophysiological recordings have shown that SC neurons exhibit some remarkable activity properties that depend on both their anatomical position and the resulting saccade trajectory [2].

Here, we propose a biologically plausible spiking neural network model that is constrained by the observed firing patterns of real SC neurons for visually evoked saccades. The functional two-dimensional network model reproduces the spike trains of single neurons in recorded SC populations for saccades with different amplitudes and directions.

The network model consists of a 2D grid of neurons, representing the gaze-motor map. The adaptive integrate-and-fire neurons [3] portray the observed site-dependent bursting profiles of individual SC neurons through distinct intrinsic biophysical properties, whereas Mexican-hat shaped lateral connections ensure the observed synchronized population activity by a soft winner-takes-all mechanism.

We argue that our model offers a basis for neuronal algorithms of spatiotemporal transformations and bio-inspired optimal control signal generators.

References

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Acknowledgements

This work is funded by the European Commission through FP7 Marie Curie ITN project "NETT" (Grant nr. 289146) (BK) and the Radboud University Nijmegen (AvO).

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Correspondence to Bahadir Kasap.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Kasap, B., van Opstal, J. Lateral connections synchronize population activity in a spiking neural network model of midbrain superior colliculus. BMC Neurosci 16, P273 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-16-S1-P273

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Keywords

  • Neural Network Model
  • Movement Vector
  • Superior Colliculus
  • Spike Train
  • Peripheral Target