February 26, 2021

Brain-scale emergence of slow-wave synchrony and highly responsive asynchronous states based on biologically realistic population models simulated in The Virtual Brain

Understanding the many facets of the organization of brain dynamics at large scales remains largely unexplored. Here, we construct a brain-wide model based on recent progress in biologically-realistic population models obtained using mean-field techniques. We use The Virtual Brain (TVB) as a simulation platform and incorporate mean-field models of networks of Adaptive Exponential (AdEx) integrate-and-fire neurons. Such models can capture the main intrinsic firing properties of central neurons, such as adaptation, and also include the typical kinetics of postsynaptic conductances. We hypothesize that such features are important to a biologically realistic simulation of brain dynamics. The resulting “TVB-AdEx” model is shown here to generate two fundamental dynamical states, asynchronous-irregular (AI) and Up-Down states, which correspond to the asynchronous and synchronized dynamics of wakefulness and slow-wave sleep, respectively. The synchrony of slow waves appear as an emergent property at large scales, and reproduce the very different patterns of functional connectivity found in slow-waves compared to asynchronous states. Next, we simulated experiments with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) during asynchronous and slow-wave states, and show that, like in experimental data, the effect of the stimulation greatly depends on the activity state. During slow waves, the response is strong but remains local, in contrast with asynchronous states, where the response is weaker but propagates across brain areas. To compare more quantitatively with wake and slow-wave sleep states, we compute the perturbational complexity index and show that it matches the value estimated from TMS experiments. We conclude that the TVB-AdEx model replicates some of the properties of synchrony and responsiveness seen in the human brain, and is a promising tool to study spontaneous and evoked large-scale dynamics in the normal, anesthetized or pathological brain.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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