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Synchronous Spike Patterns in Macaque Motor Cortex during an Instructed-Delay Reach-to-Grasp Task

Abstract : The computational role of spike time synchronization at millisecond precision among neurons in the cerebral cortex is hotly debated. Studies performed on data of limited size provided experimental evidence that low-order correlations occur in relation to behavior. Advances in electrophysiological technology to record from hundreds of neurons simultaneously provide the opportunity to observe coordinated spiking activity of larger populations of cells. We recently published a method that combines data mining and statistical evaluation to search for significant patterns of synchronous spikes in massively parallel spike trains (Torre et al., 2013). The method solves the computational and multiple testing problems raised by the high dimensionality of the data. In the current study, we used our method on simultaneous recordings from two macaque monkeys engaged in an instructed-delay reach-to-grasp task to determine the emergence of spike synchronization in relation to behavior. We found a multitude of synchronous spike patterns aligned in both monkeys along a preferential mediolateral orientation in brain space. The occurrence of the patterns is highly specific to behavior, indicating that different behaviors are associated with the synchronization of different groups of neurons (" cell assemblies "). However, pooled patterns that overlap in neuronal composition exhibit no specificity, suggesting that exclusive cell assemblies become active during different behaviors, but can recruit partly identical neurons. These findings are consistent across multiple recording sessions analyzed across the two monkeys.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 10, 2017 - 10:21:49 AM
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Emiliano Torre, Pietro Quaglio, Michael Denker, Thomas Brochier, Alexa Riehle, et al.. Synchronous Spike Patterns in Macaque Motor Cortex during an Instructed-Delay Reach-to-Grasp Task. Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 2016, 36, pp.8329-8340. ⟨10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4375-15.2016⟩. ⟨hal-01464215⟩

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