In vivo Large-Scale Cortical Mapping Using Channelrhodopsin-2 Stimulation in Transgenic Mice Reveals Asymmetric and Reciprocal Relationships between Cortical Areas
Spontaneous slow-wave oscillations of neuronal membrane potential occur about once every second in the rodent cortex and may serve to shape the efficacy of evoked neuronal responses and consolidate memory during sleep. However, whether these oscillations reflect the entrainment of all cortical regions via propagating waves or whether they exhibit regional and temporal heterogeneity that reflects processing in local cortical circuits is unknown. Using voltage-sensitive dye (VSD) imaging within an adult C57BL/6J mouse cross-midline large craniotomy preparation, we recorded this depolarizing activity across most of both cortical hemispheres simultaneously in both anesthetized and quiet awake animals. Spontaneous oscillations in the VSD signal were highly synchronized between hemispheres, and acallosal I/LnJ mice indicated that synchrony depended on the corpus callosum. In both anesthetized and awake mice (recovered from anesthesia), the oscillations were not necessarily global changes in activity state but were made up of complex local patterns characterized by multiple discrete peaks that were unevenly distributed across cortex. Although the local patterns of depolarizing activity were complex and changed over tens of milliseconds, they were faithfully mirrored in both hemispheres in mice with an intact corpus callosum, to perhaps ensure parallel modification of related circuits in both hemispheres. We conclude that within global rhythms of spontaneous activity are complex events that reflect orchestrated processing within local cortical circuits.