What is it about?

Experimental data shows that levels of e.g. acetylcholine, dopamine or noradrenaline change the population correlation structure in a network. In this article, we show (a) how this can be achieved based on the known effects of these neurochemicals and (b) why this happens, i.e. the functionality of these short-term (seconds to minutes) changes. We argue that networks modulate the amount of throughput (by synchronous activity) vs. computation (by asynchronous read-out) in this fashion, targeted to a specific brain microregion by NM activity.

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Why is it important?

It is generally accepted that NM are intimately involved in "attention" within a brain region, and that they enhance memory when engaged. In other words they help to focus activity. But there are several accounts as to how this may happen. Here, supported by experimental evidence, we are saying that NMs lead to more asynchronous activity. Asynchronous activity has a higher information content in contrast to more synchronous activity which enhances throughput and essentially disengages the contribution of a brain region.


The model in this article profits from a fully lognormal network, i.e. a distribution of values not just over synaptic weights but also over intrinsic excitability. This type of network - even though empirically attested - is not generally known and leads to effects that may be substantially different from non-biological, artificial networks without this constraint.

Dr Gabriele Scheler
Carl Correns Foundation

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Neuromodulation influences synchronization and intrinsic read-out, F1000Research, August 2018, Faculty of 1000, Ltd.,
DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.15804.1.
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