Ankur Sinha's journal club where he discusses his results from his Ph.D. research documented in the preprint: Growth rules for the repair of asynchronous irregular neuronal networks after peripheral lesions (Sinha et al. 2019). The abstract is below:
Several homeostatic mechanisms enable the brain to maintain desired levels of neuronal activity. One of these, homeostatic structural plasticity, has been reported to restore activity in networks disrupted by peripheral lesions by altering their neuronal connectivity. While multiple lesion experiments have studied the changes in neurite morphology that underlie modifications of synapses in these networks, the underlying mechanisms that drive these changes are yet to be explained. Evidence suggests that neuronal activity modulates neurite morphology and may stimulate neurites to selective sprout or retract to restore network activity levels. We developed a new spiking network model, simulations of which accurately reproduce network rewiring after peripheral lesions as reported in experiments, to study these activity dependent growth regimes of neurites. To ensure that our simulations closely resemble the behaviour of networks in the brain, we deafferent a biologically realistic network model that exhibits low frequency Asynchronous Irregular (AI) activity as observed in cerebral cortex.
Our simulation results indicate that the re-establishment of activity in neurons both within and outside the deprived region, the Lesion Projection Zone (LPZ), requires opposite activity dependent growth rules for excitatory and inhibitory post-synaptic elements. Analysis of these growth regimes indicates that they also contribute to the maintenance of activity levels in individual neurons. Furthermore, in our model, the directional formation of synapses that is observed in experiments requires that pre-synaptic excitatory and inhibitory elements also follow opposite growth rules. Lastly, we observe that our proposed model of homeostatic structural plasticity and the inhibitory synaptic plasticity mechanism that also balances our AI network are both necessary for successful rewiring of the network.