Abstract: During the generation of rhythmic movements, most spinal neurons receive an oscillatory synaptic drive. The neuronal architecture underlying this drive is unknown, and the corresponding network size and sparseness have not yet been addressed. If the input originates from a small central pattern generator (CPG) with dense divergent connectivity, it will induce correlated input to all receiving neurons, while sparse convergent wiring will induce a weak correlation, if any. Here, we use pairwise recordings of spinal neurons to measure synaptic correlations and thus infer the wiring architecture qualitatively. A strong correlation on a slow timescale implies functional relatedness and a common source, which will also cause correlation on fast timescale due to shared synaptic connections. However, we consistently find marginal coupling between slow and fast correlations regardless of neuronal identity. This suggests either sparse convergent connectivity or a CPG network with recurrent inhibition that actively decorrelates common input.

Marija RadosevicAlex WillumsenPeter C. PetersenHenrik LindenMikkel VestergaardRune W. Berg “Decoupling of timescales reveals sparse convergent CPG network in the adult spinal cord”, Nature Communications 10:2937, July 03  2019, [pdf] [link]