Distinct Structure of Cortical Population Activity on Fast and Infraslow Timescales.
Okun M., Steinmetz NA., Lak A., Dervinis M., Harris KD.
Cortical activity is organized across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Most research on the dynamics of neuronal spiking is concerned with timescales of 1 ms-1 s, and little is known about spiking dynamics on timescales of tens of seconds and minutes. Here, we used frequency domain analyses to study the structure of individual neurons' spiking activity and its coupling to local population rate and to arousal level across 0.01-100 Hz frequency range. In mouse medial prefrontal cortex, the spiking dynamics of individual neurons could be quantitatively captured by a combination of interspike interval and firing rate power spectrum distributions. The relative strength of coherence with local population often differed across timescales: a neuron strongly coupled to population rate on fast timescales could be weakly coupled on slow timescales, and vice versa. On slow but not fast timescales, a substantial proportion of neurons showed firing anticorrelated with the population. Infraslow firing rate changes were largely determined by arousal rather than by local factors, which could explain the timescale dependence of individual neurons' population coupling strength. These observations demonstrate how neurons simultaneously partake in fast local dynamics, and slow brain-wide dynamics, extending our understanding of infraslow cortical activity beyond the mesoscale resolution of fMRI.