Data_Sheet_1_Wave Turbulence and Energy Cascade in the Hippocampus.pdf

Mesoscale cortical activity can be defined as the organization of activity of large neuron populations into collective action, forming time-dependent patterns such as traveling waves. Although collective action may play an important role in the cross-scale integration of brain activity and in the emergence of cognitive behavior, a comprehensive formulation of the laws governing its dynamics is still lacking. Because collective action processes are macroscopic with respect to neuronal activity, these processes cannot be described directly with methods and models developed for the microscale (individual neurons).To identify the characteristic features of mesoscopic dynamics, and to lay the foundations for a theoretical description of mesoscopic activity in the hippocampus, we conduct a comprehensive examination of observational data of hippocampal local field potential (LFP) recordings. We use the strong correlation between rat running-speed and the LFP power to parameterize the energy input into the hippocampus, and show that both the power and non-linearity of collective action (e.g., theta and gamma rhythms) increase with increased speed. Our results show that collective-action dynamics are stochastic (the precise state of a single neuron is irrelevant), weakly non-linear, and weakly dissipative. These are the principles of the theory of weak turbulence. Therefore, we propose weak turbulence a theoretical framework for the description of mesoscopic activity in the hippocampus. The weak turbulence framework provides a complete description of the cross-scale energy exchange (the energy cascade). It uncovers the mechanism governing major features of LFP spectra and bispectra, such as the physical meaning of the exponent α of power-law LFP spectra (e.g., f−α, where f is the frequency), the strengthening of theta-gamma coupling with energy input into the hippocampus, as well as specific phase lags associated with their interaction. Remarkably, the weak turbulence framework is consistent with the theory of self organized criticality, which provides a simple explanation for the existence of the power-law background spectrum. Together with self-organized criticality, weak turbulence could provide a unifying approach to modeling the dynamics of mesoscopic activity.