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An embedded subnetwork of highly active neurons in the neocortex.

VIDEO ABSTRACT: Unbiased methods to assess the firing activity of individual neurons in the neocortex have revealed that a large proportion of cells fire at extremely low rates (<0.1 Hz), both in their spontaneous and evoked activity. Thus, firing in neocortical networks appears to be dominated by a small population of highly active neurons. Here, we use a fosGFP transgenic mouse to examine the properties of cells with a recent history of elevated activity. FosGFP-expressing layer 2/3 pyramidal cells fired at higher rates compared to fosGFP(-) neurons, both in vivo and in vitro. Elevated activity could be attributed to increased excitatory and decreased inhibitory drive to fosGFP(+) neurons. Paired-cell recordings indicated that fosGFP(+) neurons had a greater likelihood of being connected to each other. These findings indicate that highly active, interconnected neuronal ensembles are present in the neocortex and suggest these cells may play a role in the encoding of sensory information.

Pubmed ID: 21172607


  • Yassin L
  • Benedetti BL
  • Jouhanneau JS
  • Wen JA
  • Poulet JF
  • Barth AL



Publication Data

December 22, 2010

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: DA0171-88
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: R01 DA017188
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: R01 DA017188-04
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: R01 DA017188-05
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: R01 DA017188-06A2

Mesh Terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neocortex
  • Nerve Net
  • Neurons