Selective Inhibition and Recruitment of Linear-Threshold Thalamocortical Networks

3 Jan 2022  ·  Michael McCreesh, Jorge Cortés ·

Neuroscientific evidence shows that for most brain networks all pathways between cortical regions either pass through the thalamus or a transthalamic parallel route exists for any direct corticocortical connection. This paper seeks to formally study the dynamical behavior of the resulting thalamocortical brain networks with a view to characterizing the inhibitory role played by the thalamus and its benefits. We employ a linear-threshold mesoscale model for individual brain subnetworks and study both hierarchical and star-connected thalamocortical networks. Using tools from singular perturbation theory and switched systems, we show that selective inhibition and recruitment can be achieved in such networks through a combination of feedback and feedforward control. Various simulations throughout the exposition illustrate the benefits resulting from the presence of the thalamus regarding failsafe mechanisms, required control magnitude, and network performance.

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