Microsaccade-rhythmic modulation of neural synchronization and coding within and across cortical areas V1 and V2

Eric Lowet, Bart Gips, M.J. Roberts, P. de Weerd, Ole Jensen, Jan P J M van der Eerden

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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Primates sample their visual environment actively through saccades and microsaccades (MSs). Saccadic eye movements not only modulate neural spike rates but might also affect temporal correlations (synchrony) among neurons. Neural synchrony plays a role in neural coding and modulates information transfer between cortical areas. The question arises of how eye movements shape neural synchrony within and across cortical areas and how it affects visual processing. Through local field recordings in macaque early visual cortex while monitoring eye position and through neural network simulations, we find 2 distinct synchrony regimes in early visual cortex that are embedded in a 3- to 4-Hz MS-related rhythm during visual fixation. In the period shortly after an MS (“transient period”), synchrony was high within and between cortical areas. In the subsequent period (“sustained period”), overall synchrony dropped and became selective to stimulus properties. Only mutually connected neurons with similar stimulus responses exhibited sustained narrow-band gamma synchrony (25–80 Hz), both within and across cortical areas. Recordings in macaque V1 and V2 matched the model predictions. Furthermore, our modeling provides predictions on how (micro)saccade-modulated gamma synchrony in V1 shapes V2 receptive fields (RFs). We suggest that the rhythmic alternation between synchronization regimes represents a basic repeating sampling strategy of the visual system.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2004132
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


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