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Subbarrel patterns in somatosensory cortical barrels can emerge from local dynamic instabilities

Ermentrout, B and Simons, DJ and Land, PW (2009) Subbarrel patterns in somatosensory cortical barrels can emerge from local dynamic instabilities. PLoS Computational Biology, 5 (10). ISSN 1553-734X

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Complex spatial patterning, common in the brain as well as in other biological systems, can emerge as a result of dynamic interactions that occur locally within developing structures. In the rodent somatosensory cortex, groups of neurons called "barrels" correspond to individual whiskers on the contralateral face. Barrels themselves often contain subbarrels organized into one of a few characteristic patterns. Here we demonstrate that similar patterns can be simulated by means of local growth-promoting and growth-retarding interactions within the circular domains of single barrels. The model correctly predicts that larger barrels contain more spatially complex subbarrel patterns, suggesting that the development of barrels and of the patterns within them may be understood in terms of some relatively simple dynamic processes. We also simulate the full nonlinear equations to demonstrate the predictive value of our linear analysis. Finally, we show that the pattern formation is robust with respect to the geometry of the barrel by simulating patterns on a realistically shaped barrel domain. This work shows how simple pattern forming mechanisms can explain neural wiring both qualitatively and quantitatively even in complex and irregular domains. © 2009 Ermentrout et al.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ermentrout, B
Simons, DJcortex@pitt.eduCORTEX
Land, PW
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Date: 1 October 2009
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS Computational Biology
Volume: 5
Number: 10
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000537
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Mathematics
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1553-734X
MeSH Headings: Humans; Somatosensory Cortex--physiology
Other ID: NLM PMC2759004
PubMed Central ID: PMC2759004
PubMed ID: 19834600
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2012 16:21
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:56


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