Cortex-wide spontaneous activity non-linearly steers propagating sensory-evoked activity in awake mice

Mianxin Liu, Yuqi Liang, Chenchen Song, Thomas Knöpfel*, Changsong Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The brain responds highly variably to identical sensory inputs, but there is no consensus on the nature of this variability. We explore this question using cortex-wide optical voltage imaging and whisker stimulation in awake mice. Clustering analysis reveals that the sensory-evoked activity propagates over the cortex via distinct pathways associated with distinct behavioral states. The pathway taken by each trial is independent of the level of primary sensory-evoked activation but is partially predictable by the spatiotemporal features of the preceding cortical spontaneous activity patterns. The sensory inputs reduce trial-to-trial variability in brain activity and alter temporal autocorrelation in spatial activity pattern evolutions, suggesting non-linear interactions between evoked activities and spontaneous activities. Further, evoked activities and spontaneous activities occupy different positions in the state space, suggesting that sensory inputs can intricately interact with the internal state to generate large-scale evoked activity patterns not frequented by spontaneous brain states.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111740
Number of pages17
JournalCell Reports
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • optical voltage imaging
  • perception variability
  • machine learning
  • cortex
  • spontaneous traveling waves
  • sensory-evoked activity


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