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Electrical coupling controls dimensionality and chaotic firing of inferior olive neurons

By Huu Hoang, Eric J. Lang, Yoshito Hirata, Isao T. Tokuda, Kazuyuki Aihara, Keisuke Toyama, Mitsuo Kawato, Nicolas Schweighofer

Posted 05 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/542183 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008075)

One of the main challenges facing online neural learning systems with numerous modifiable parameters (or degrees-of-freedom) such as the cerebellum, is how to avoid overfitting. We previously proposed that the cerebellum controls the degree-of-freedoms during learning by gradually modulating the electric coupling strength between inferior olive neurons. Here, we develop a modeling technique to estimate effective coupling strengths between inferior olive neurons from in vivo recordings of Purkinje cell complex spike activity in three different coupling conditions. We show that high coupling strengths induce synchronous firing and decrease the dimensionality of inferior olive firing dynamics. In contrast, intermediate coupling strengths induce chaotic firing and increase the dimensionality of firing dynamics. Our results thus support the hypothesis that effective coupling controls the dimensionality of inferior olive firing, which may allow the olivocerebellar system to learn effectively from a small training sample set despite the low firing frequency of inferior olive neurons.

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