Self-organised criticality via retro-synaptic signals

Victor Hernandez-Urbina, J Michael Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The brain is a complex system par excellence. In the last decade the observation of neuronal avalanches in neocortical circuits suggested the presence of self-organized criticality in brain networks. The occurrence of this type of dynamics implies several benefits to neural computation. However, the mechanisms that give rise to critical behavior in these systems, and how they interact with other neuronal processes such as synaptic plasticity are not fully understood. In this paper, we present a long-term plasticity rule based on retro-synaptic signals that allows the system to reach a critical state in which clusters of activity are distributed as a power-law, among other observables. Our synaptic plasticity rule coexists with other synaptic mechanisms such as spike-timing-dependent plasticity, which implies that the resulting synaptic modulation captures not only the temporal correlations between spiking times of pre- and post-synaptic units, which has been suggested as a requirement for learning and memory
in neural systems, but also drives the system to a state of optimal neural information processing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Issue number54
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2017


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