Fast-local and slow-global neural ensembles in the mouse brain

Thomas J. Delaney, Cian O’Donnell

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Ensembles of neurons are thought to be co-active when participating in brain computations. However, it is unclear what principles determine whether an ensemble remains localised within a single brain region, or spans multiple brain regions. To address this, we analysed electrophysiological neural population data from hundreds of neurons recorded simultaneously across nine brain regions in awake mice. At fast sub-second timescales, spike count correlations between pairs of neurons in the same brain region were stronger than for pairs of neurons spread across different brain regions. In contrast at slower timescales, within- and between-region spike count correlations were similar. Correlations between high-firing-rate neuron pairs showed a stronger dependence on timescale than low-firing-rate neuron pairs. We applied an ensemble detection algorithm to the neural correlation data and found that at fast timescales, most ensembles had a high proportion of neurons from a single brain region, whereas at slower timescales ensembles contained roughly equal numbers of neurons from multiple brain regions. These results suggest that the mouse brain may perform fast-local and slow-global computations in parallel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalNetwork Neuroscience
Early online date21 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Feb 2023


  • Applied Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • General Neuroscience


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