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Nearby neurons in sensory cortices display correlated ongoing and sensory-evoked activity. What gives rise to this synchronous activity is mostly unknown.

On the one hand cortical synchrony may reflect shared and correlated inputs from the thalamus, which is the sub-cortical structure that conveys information from sensory organs to the cortex. Alternatively, correlated activity of neighboring cortical cells may emerge by the local activity of cortical circuits that amplify the remote thalamic inputs. In a new study using dual intracellular recording combined with optogenetic tools’ that allow us to isolate remote inputs, we show that cortical synchronization emerges from intracortical coupling. See the complete paper here.