A behavioral response appropriate to a sensory stimulus depends on the collective activity of thousands of interconnected neurons. The majority of cortical connections arise from neighboring neurons, and thus understanding the cortical code requires characterizing information representation at the scale of the cortical microcircuit. Using twophoton calcium imaging, we densely sampled the thalamically evoked response of hundreds of neurons spanning multiple layers and columns in thalamocortical slices of mouse somatosensory cortex. We then used a biologically plausible decoder to characterize the representation of two distinct thalamic inputs, at the level of the microcircuit, to reveal those aspects of the activity pattern that are likely relevant to downstream neurons. Our data suggest a sparse code, distributed across lamina, in which a small population of cells carries stimulus-relevant information. Furthermore, we find that, within this subset of neurons, decoder performance improves when noise correlations are taken into account.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 the American Physiological Society.
- Cortical coding
- Two-photon imaging