Exploring the Phase-Locking Mechanisms Yielding Delayed and Anticipated Synchronization in Neuronal Circuits

Dalla Porta, L.; Matias, F. S.; dos Santos, A. J.; Alonso, A.; Carelli, P. V.; Copelli, M.; Mirasso, C. R.
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 13, 41 (2019)

Synchronization is one of the brain mechanisms allowing the coordination of neuronal activity required in many cognitive tasks. Anticipated Synchronization (AS) is a specific type of out-of-phase synchronization that occurs when two systems are unidirectionally coupled and, consequently, the information is transmitted from the sender to the receiver, but the receiver leads the sender in time. It has been shown that the primate cortex could operate in a regime of AS as part of normal neurocognitive function. However, it is still unclear what is the mechanism that gives rise to anticipated synchronization in neuronal motifs. Here, we investigate the synchronization properties of cortical motifs on multiple scales and show that the internal dynamics of the receiver, which is related to its free-running frequency in the uncoupled situation, is the main ingredient for AS to occur. For biologically plausible parameters, including excitation/inhibition balance, we found that the phase difference between the sender and the receiver decreases when the free-running frequency of the receiver increases. As a consequence, the system switches from the usual delayed synchronization (DS) regime to an AS regime. We show that at three different scales, neuronal microcircuits, spiking neuronal populations and neural
mass models, both the inhibitory loop and the external current acting on the receiver
mediate the DS-AS transition for the sender-receiver configuration by changing the free
running frequency of the receiver. Therefore, we propose that a faster internal dynamics
of the receiver system is the main mechanism underlying anticipated synchronization in
brain circuits.

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