Decoupling through synchrony in hippocampal networks
Thanos Siapas, Eugene Lubenov
California Institute of Technology

The level of synchronization in distributed systems is often controlled by the strength of the interactions between individual elements. In brain circuits the connection strengths between neurons are modified under the influence of spike timing-dependent plasticity rules (STDP). We show that when recurrent networks exhibit population bursts, STDP rules exert a strong decoupling force that desynchronizes activity. The decoupling force of STDP may be engaged by the synchronous bursts occurring in the hippocampus during slow-wave sleep. We discuss experimental evidence that these bursts may lead to the selective erasure of information from hippocampal circuits as memories are established in neocortical areas.