Spontaneous correlated activity is a universal hallmark of immature neural circuits. However, the cellular dynamics and intrinsic mechanisms underlying network burstiness in the intact developing brain are largely unknown. Here, we use two-photon Ca2+ imaging to comprehensively map the developmental trajectories of spontaneous network activity in the hippocampal area CA1 of mice in vivo. We unexpectedly find that network burstiness peaks after the developmental emergence of effective synaptic inhibition in the second postnatal week. We demonstrate that the enhanced network burstiness reflects an increased functional coupling of individual neurons to local population activity. However, pairwise neuronal correlations are low, and network bursts (NBs) recruit CA1 pyramidal cells in a virtually random manner. Using a dynamic systems modeling approach, we reconcile these experimental findings and identify network bi-stability as a potential regime underlying network burstiness at this age. Our analyses reveal an important role of synaptic input characteristics and network instability dynamics for NB generation. Collectively, our data suggest a mechanism, whereby developing CA1 performs extensive input-discrimination learning prior to the onset of environmental exploration.
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2022|