Stable behavioral state-specific large scale activity patterns in the developing cortex of neonates


Intrinsic neuronal activity is a hallmark of the developing brain. In rodents, a handful of such activities were described in different cortical areas but the unifying macroscopic perspective is still lacking.

Here we combined large-scale in vivo Ca2+ imaging of the dorsal cortex in non-anesthetized neonatal mice with mathematical analyses to reveal unique behavioral state-specific maps of intrinsic activity. These maps were remarkably stable over time within and across experiments and used patches of correlated activity with little hemispheric symmetry as well as stationary and propagating waves as building blocks. Importantly, the maps recorded during motion and rest were almost inverse, with frontoparietal areas active during motion and posterior-lateral areas active at rest. The retrosplenial cortex engaged in both resting- and motion-related activities via functional long-range connections with respective cortical areas. The data obtained bind different region-specific activity patterns described so far into a single consistent picture and set the stage for future inactivation studies, probing the exact function of this complex activity pattern for cortical wiring in neonates.

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