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A Dendritic Mechanism for Decoding Traveling Waves: Principles and Applications to Motor Cortex

Figure 1

Modeling the descending motor system.

(A) Major fiber tracts of the descending motor system, redrawn from [105]. Axons of the pyramidal tract neurons (red) descend from the motor cortex to monosynaptically innervate motor neurons in the spinal cord. (B) Schematic representation of the dendritic arbors of a typical pyramidal tract neuron (PTN). The apical dendrites project widely throughout the superficial layers of cortex and thus are ideally placed to detect surface wave patterns in the neural activity (top). (C) Simulated cortical wave pattern. (D) The descending motor model. Cortical wave patterns are generated by a sheet of spatially-coupled phase oscillators (circles, 1–8). These wave patterns are spatially filtered by the dendritic trees of the pyramidal tract neurons to produce an amplitude-modulated oscillatory current at the soma. Spikes initiated by the PTN are transmitted to a randomly selected pool of motor neurons (MN) in the spine. Each MN integrates the incoming spikes to produce a muscle drive spike train. Net muscle drive is quantified by simulated Electromyogram (EMG). The cortical wave model is adapted from [17]. The MN and EMG models are adapted from [41].

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003260.g001