Complexity in neuronal noise depends on network interconnectivity.
"Noise," or noise-like activity (NLA), defines background electrical membrane potential fluctuations at the cellular level of the nervous system, comprising an important aspect of brain dynamics. Using whole-cell voltage recordings from fast-spiking stratum oriens interneurons and stratum pyramidale neurons located in the CA3 region of the intact mouse hippocampus, we applied complexity measures from dynamical systems theory (i.e., 1/f(γ) noise and correlation dimension) and found evidence for complexity in neuronal NLA, ranging from high- to low-complexity dynamics. Importantly, these high- and low-complexity signal features were largely dependent on gap junction and chemical synaptic transmission. Progressive neuronal isolation from the surrounding local network via gap junction blockade (abolishing gap junction-dependent spikelets) and then chemical synaptic blockade (abolishing excitatory and inhibitory post-synaptic potentials), or the reverse order of these treatments, resulted in emergence of high-complexity NLA dynamics. Restoring local network interconnectivity via blockade washout resulted in resolution to low-complexity behavior. These results suggest that the observed increase in background NLA complexity is the result of reduced network interconnectivity, thereby highlighting the potential importance of the NLA signal to the study of network state transitions arising in normal and abnormal brain dynamics (such as in epilepsy, for example).