Cortical Circuit Dynamics Are Homeostatically Tuned to Criticality In Vivo

Zhengyu Ma, Gina G. Turrigiano, Ralf Wessel, Keith B. Hengen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Homeostatic mechanisms stabilize neuronal activity in vivo, but whether this process gives rise to balanced network dynamics is unknown. Here, we continuously monitored the statistics of network spiking in visual cortical circuits in freely behaving rats for 9 days. Under control conditions in light and dark, networks were robustly organized around criticality, a regime that maximizes information capacity and transmission. When input was perturbed by visual deprivation, network criticality was severely disrupted and subsequently restored to criticality over 48 h. Unexpectedly, the recovery of excitatory dynamics preceded homeostatic plasticity of firing rates by >30 h. We utilized model investigations to manipulate firing rate homeostasis in a cell-type-specific manner at the onset of visual deprivation. Our results suggest that criticality in excitatory networks is established by inhibitory plasticity and architecture. These data establish that criticality is consistent with a homeostatic set point for visual cortical dynamics and suggest a key role for homeostatic regulation of inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-664.e4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 20 2019


  • computation
  • cortex
  • criticality
  • dynamics
  • homeostasis
  • homeostatic plasticity
  • modeling
  • visual cortex


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