Using subthreshold events to characterize the functional architecture of the electrically coupled inferior olive network

The electrical connectivity in the inferior olive (IO) nucleus plays an important role in generating well-timed spiking activity. Here we combined electrophysiological and computational approaches to assess the functional organization of the IO nucleus in mice. Spontaneous fast and slow subthreshold events were commonly encountered during in vitro recordings. We show that whereas the fast events represent intrinsic regenerative activity, the slow events reflect the electrical connectivity between neurons (‘spikelets’). Recordings from cell pairs revealed the synchronized occurrence of distinct groups of spikelets; their rate and distribution enabled an accurate estimation of the number of connected cells and is suggestive of a clustered organization. This study thus provides a new perspective on the functional and structural organization of the olivary nucleus and a novel experimental and theoretical approach to study electrically coupled networks.

Authors: Yaara Lefler, Oren Amsalem, Nora Vrieler, Idan Segev, Yosef Yarom
Year of publication: 2020
Journal: eLife

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“Working memory”