Using dynamic-clamp techniques in thalamic slices in vitro, we combined theoretical and experimental
approaches to implement a realistic hybrid retino-thalamo-cortical pathway mixing biological cells and simulated circuits.
The study of
the impact of the simulated cortical input on the global retinocortical signal transfer efficiency revealed a novel control
mechanism resulting from the collective resonance of all thalamic relay neurons.
We show here that the transfer efficiency
of sensory input transmission depends on three key features: i) the number of thalamocortical cells involved in the many-to-one
convergence from thalamus to cortex, ii) the statistics of the corticothalamic synaptic bombardment and iii) the level of
correlation imposed between converging thalamic relay cells.
In particular, our results demonstrate counterintuitively that
the retinocortical signal transfer efficiency increases when the level of correlation across thalamic cells decreases.
Behuret S, Deleuze C, Gomez L, Fregnac Y, Bal T (2013) Cortically-controlled population stochastic facilitation as a plausible substrate for guiding sensory transfer across the thalamic gateway PLoS Computational Biology 9(12):e1003401 [PubMed]