Recent evidence suggests that electrical coupling plays a role in generating oscillatory behaviour in networks of neurons; however, the underlying mechanisms have not been identified. Using a cellular automata model proposed by Traub et al (Traub R D, Schmitz D, Jefferys J G and Draguhn A 1999 High-frequency population oscillations are predicted to occur in hippocampal pyramidal neural networks interconnected by axo-axonal gap junctions Neuroscience 92 407-26), we describe a novel mechanism for self-organized oscillations in networks that have strong, sparse random electrical coupling via gap junctions. The network activity is generated by random spontaneous activity that is moulded into regular population oscillations by the propagation of activity through the network. We explain how this activity gives rise to particular dependences of mean oscillation frequency on network connectivity parameters and on the rate of spontaneous activity, and we derive analytical expressions to approximate the mean frequency and variance of the oscillations. In doing so, we provide insight into possible mechanisms for frequency control and modulation in networks of neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)