Lateral connections synchronize population activity in a spiking neural network model of midbrain superior colliculus
© Kasap and van Opstal 2015
Published: 4 December 2015
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 . Electrophysiological recordings have shown that SC neurons exhibit some remarkable activity properties that depend on both their anatomical position and the resulting saccade trajectory .
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  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.
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).
- Ottes FP, van Gisbergen JAM, Eggermont JJ: Visuomotor fields of the superior colliculus: a quantitative model. Vision Research. 1986, 26 (6): 857-873.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Goossens HHLM, van Opstal AJ: Optimal control of saccades by spatial-temporal activity patterns in the monkey superior colliculus. PLoS Computational Biology. 2012, 8 (5): e1002508-PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Brette R, Gerstner W: Adaptive exponential integrate-and-fire model as an effective description of neuronal activity. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2005, 94 (5): 3637-3642.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
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.