Emergent Oscillations in Networks of Stochastic Spiking Neurons

Edward Wallace, Marc Benayoun, Wim van Drongelen, Jack D Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Networks of neurons produce diverse patterns of oscillations, arising from the network's global properties, the propensity of individual neurons to oscillate, or a mixture of the two. Here we describe noisy limit cycles and quasi-cycles, two related mechanisms underlying emergent oscillations in neuronal networks whose individual components, stochastic spiking neurons, do not themselves oscillate. Both mechanisms are shown to produce gamma band oscillations at the population level while individual neurons fire at a rate much lower than the population frequency. Spike trains in a network undergoing noisy limit cycles display a preferred period which is not found in the case of quasi-cycles, due to the even faster decay of phase information in quasi-cycles. These oscillations persist in sparsely connected networks, and variation of the network's connectivity results in variation of the oscillation frequency. A network of such neurons behaves as a stochastic perturbation of the deterministic Wilson-Cowan equations, and the network undergoes noisy limit cycles or quasi-cycles depending on whether these have limit cycles or a weakly stable focus. These mechanisms provide a new perspective on the emergence of rhythmic firing in neural networks, showing the coexistence of population-level oscillations with very irregular individual spike trains in a simple and general framework.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14804
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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