We found that decreases in correlations were primarily between excitatory–inhibitory pairs rather than excitatory–excitatory pairs and suggest that excitatory–inhibitory decorrelation is necessary for maintaining selleck products low levels of excitatory–excitatory correlations. Increased inhibitory drive via release of acetylcholine in V1 may then act as a buffer, absorbing increases in excitatory–excitatory
correlations that occur with attention and BF stimulation. These findings will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underyling the BF’s interactions with attention signals and influences on correlations. Attention can selectively sharpen or filter sensory information on a moment by moment basis. We typically separate attention into two distinct
categories: bottom-up (sensory driven) and top-down (goal-directed) (Desimone & Duncan, 1995; Buschman Oligomycin A supplier & Miller, 2007). The cholinergic system, which originates in the basal forebrain (BF), has been shown to be important for enhancing bottom-up sensory input to the cortex at the expense of intracortical interactions and enhancing cortical coding by decreasing noise correlations and increasing reliability (Hasselmo & McGaughy, 2004; Yu & Dayan, 2005; Disney et al., 2007; Goard & Dan, 2009). Herrero et al. (2008), however, have recently found that acetylcholine is also important for top-down attentional modulation. It is still unclear exactly how the BF may be important for facilitating both top-down attentional and bottom-up sensory input into the visual cortex. Top-down attention is usually associated with an increase in firing rate in the set of neurons coding for a particular
feature (Desimone & see more Duncan, 1995). This effectively biases that feature over other competing features. Recent experimental studies, however, have shown that attention causes changes in the variability of neural responses within and between trials (Cohen & Maunsell, 2009; Mitchell et al., 2009; Harris & Thiele, 2011; Herrero et al., 2013). This implies that interactions between neurons are a critical factor for encoding information in sensory cortex. We present a spiking neuron model that simulates the effects that top-down attention and the BF have on visual cortical processing. We show an increase in between-trial correlations and a decrease in between-cell correlations in the cortex via GABAergic projections to the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) and cholinergic projections onto muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) in the primary visual cortex (V1), respectively. In addition, we show that topographic projections from attentional areas to the TRN can increase reliability of sensory signals before they get to the cortex (Fig. 1).