Spontaneous neural synchrony links intrinsic spinal sensory and motor networks during unconsciousness

Jacob Graves McPherson, Maria F. Bandres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Non-random functional connectivity during unconsciousness is a defining feature of supraspinal networks. However, its generalizability to intrinsic spinal networks remains incompletely understood. Previously, Barry et al., 2014 used fMRI to reveal bilateral resting state functional connectivity within sensory-dominant and, separately, motor-dominant regions of the spinal cord. Here, we record spike trains from large populations of spinal interneurons in vivo in rats and demonstrate that spontaneous functional connectivity also links sensory-and motor-dominant regions during unconsciousness. The spatiotemporal patterns of connectivity could not be explained by latent afferent activity or by populations of interconnected neurons spiking randomly. We also document connection latencies compatible with mono-and disynaptic interactions and putative excitatory and inhibitory connections. The observed activity is consistent with the hypothesis that salient, experience-dependent patterns of neural transmission introduced during behavior or by injury/disease are reactivated during unconsciousness. Such a spinal replay mechanism could shape circuit-level connectivity and ultimately behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere66308
StatePublished - May 2021


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