Dynamic patterns of spontaneous ongoing activity in the visual cortex of anesthetized and awake monkeys are different

David B. Omer*, Tomer Fekete, Yigal Ulchin, Rina Hildesheim, Amiram Grinvald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ongoing internal cortical activity plays a major role in perception and behavior both in animals and humans. Previously we have shown that spontaneous patterns resembling orientation-maps appear over large cortical areas in the primary visual-cortex of anesthetized cats. However, it remains unknown 1) whether spontaneous-activity in the primate also displays similar patterns and 2) whether a significant difference exists between cortical ongoing-activity in the anesthetized and awake primate. We explored these questions by combining voltage-sensitive-dye imaging with multiunit and local-field-potential recordings. Spontaneously emerging orientation and ocular-dominance maps, spanning up to 6 × 6 mm 2, were readily observed in anesthetized but not in awake monkeys. Nevertheless, spontaneous correlated-activity involving orientation-domains was observed in awake monkeys. Under both anesthetized and awake conditions, spontaneous correlated-activity coincided with traveling waves. We found that spontaneous activity resembling orientation-maps in awake animals spans smaller cortical areas in each instance, but over time it appears across all of V1. Furthermore, in the awake monkey, our results suggest that the synaptic strength had been completely reorganized including connections between dissimilar elements of the functional architecture. These findings lend support to the notion that ongoing-activity has many more fast switching representations playing an important role in cortical function and behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1291-1304
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • awake primate
  • cortical column
  • spontaneous activity
  • visual cortex
  • voltage-sensitive dye


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