Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Context-specific modulation of intrinsic coupling modes shapes multisensory processing

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Science Advances  10 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaar7633
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar7633

Abstract

Intrinsically generated patterns of coupled neuronal activity are associated with the dynamics of specific brain states. Sensory inputs are extrinsic factors that can perturb these intrinsic coupling modes, creating a complex scenario in which forthcoming stimuli are processed. Studying this intrinsic-extrinsic interplay is necessary to better understand perceptual integration and selection. Here, we show that this interplay leads to a reconfiguration of functional cortical connectivity that acts as a mechanism to facilitate stimulus processing. Using audiovisual stimulation in anesthetized ferrets, we found that this reconfiguration of coupling modes is context specific, depending on long-term modulation by repetitive sensory inputs. These reconfigured coupling modes lead to changes in latencies and power of local field potential responses that support multisensory integration. Our study demonstrates that this interplay extends across multiple time scales and involves different types of intrinsic coupling. These results suggest a previously unknown large-scale mechanism that facilitates multisensory integration.

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