Spatial reach of the local field potential is frequency dependent
© Lindén et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Published: 18 July 2011
The local field potential (LFP), the low-frequency part of the extracellularly recorded electric potential, is a signal commonly used to study the activity of neural populations. However, it is not clear how local the ‘local’ field potential in fact is, i.e., how large the populations are which contribute to the signal at a given point . The spatial range of LFP will naturally depend on the spatial range of correlations in the neuronal dynamics, which may be different in different frequency bands. However, we expect that also the inherent low-pass filtering in the neuronal cables, which stems from the properties of the cable equation , will contribute to the frequency dependence of the spatial range of the LFP.
The explanation of the effect is the following: consider a neuron stimulated with a sinusoidal input current (frequency f) at one point in the dendritic tree. The distribution of the return currents depends on f, with typically more local return currents for large f, see . Therefore the ‘critical distance’, where the dipole approximation of the LFP becomes valid, decreases with f. We derived a simplified population model that accounts for the frequency dependence of the ‘critical distance’. The model can be studied analytically and explains the frequency dependence of the LFP reach for both uncorrelated and correlated synaptic input.
We acknowledge financial support from The Research Council of Norway (eVita, Yggdrasil) and Scholarship and Training Fund (EEA/Norway grants).
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