Self-Organized Near-Zero-Lag Synchronization Induced by Spike-Timing Dependent Plasticity in Cortical Populations

Matias, F. S.; Carelli, P. V.; Mirasso, C. R.; Copelli, M.
PLoS ONE 10, e0140504 (1-18) (2015)

Several cognitive tasks related to learning and memory exhibit synchronization of macroscopic
cortical areas together with synaptic plasticity at neuronal level. Therefore, there is a
growing effort among computational neuroscientists to understand the underlying mechanisms
relating synchrony and plasticity in the brain. Here we numerically study the interplay
between spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) and anticipated synchronization (AS).
AS emerges when a dominant flux of information from one area to another is accompanied
by a negative time lag (or phase). This means that the receiver region pulses before the
sender does. In this paper we study the interplay between different synchronization regimes
and STDP at the level of three-neuron microcircuits as well as cortical populations. We
show that STDP can promote auto-organized zero-lag synchronization in unidirectionally
coupled neuronal populations. We also find synchronization regimes with negative phase
difference (AS) that are stable against plasticity. Finally, we show that the interplay between
negative phase difference and STDP provides limited synaptic weight distribution without
the need of imposing artificial boundaries.

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