Topologically invariant macroscopic statistics in balanced networks of conductance-based integrate-and-fire neurons.
Pierre Yger, Sami El Boustani, Alain Destexhe and Yves Frégnac

Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 31: 229-245, 2011.

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The relationship between the dynamics of neural networks and their patterns of connectivity is far from clear, despite its importance for understanding functional properties. Here, we have studied sparsely-connected networks of conductance-based integrate-and-fire (IF) neurons with balanced excitatory and inhibitory connections and with finite axonal propagation speed. We focused on the genesis of states with highly irregular spiking activity and synchronous firing patterns at low rates, called slow Synchronous Irregular (SI) states. In such balanced networks, we examined the “macroscopic” properties of the spiking activity, such as ensemble correlations and mean firing rates, for different intracortical connectivity profiles ranging from randomly connected networks to networks with Gaussian-distributed local connectivity. We systematically computed the distance-dependent correlations at the extracellular (spiking) and intracellular (membrane potential) levels between randomly assigned pairs of neurons. The main finding is that such properties, when they are averaged at a macroscopic scale, are invariant with respect to the different connectivity patterns, provided the excitatory-inhibitory balance is the same. In particular, the same correlation structure holds for different connectivity profiles. In addition, we examined the response of such networks to external input, and found that the correlation landscape can be modulated by the mean level of synchrony imposed by the external drive. This modulation was found again to be independent of the external connectivity profile. We conclude that first and second-order “mean-field” statistics of such networks do not depend on the details of the connectivity at a microscopic scale. This study is an encouraging step toward a mean-field description of topological neuronal networks.