Synchronization Through Uncorrelated Noise in Excitatory-Inhibitory Networks
Gamma rhythms play a major role in many different processes in the brain, such as attention, working memory, and sensory processing. While typically considered detrimental, counterintuitively noise can sometimes have beneficial effects on communication and information transfer. Recently, Meng and Riecke showed that synchronization of interacting networks of inhibitory neurons in the gamma band (i.e., gamma generated through an ING mechanism) increases while synchronization within these networks decreases when neurons are subject to uncorrelated noise. However, experimental and modeling studies point towardz an important role of the pyramidal-interneuronal network gamma (PING) mechanism in the cortex. Therefore, we investigated the effect of uncorrelated noise on the communication between excitatory-inhibitory networks producing gamma oscillations via a PING mechanism. Our results suggest that, at least in a certain range of noise strengths and natural frequency differences between the regions, synaptic noise can have a supporting role in facilitating inter-regional communication, similar to the ING case for a slightly larger parameter range. Furthermore, the noise-induced synchronization between networks is generated via a different mechanism than when synchronization is mediated by strong synaptic coupling. Noise-induced synchronization is achieved by lowering synchronization within networks which allows the respective other network to impose its own gamma rhythm resulting in synchronization between networks.