Beyond excitation/inhibition imbalance in multidimensional models of neural circuit changes in brain disorders

Cian O’Donnell, J. Tiago Gonçalves, Carlos Portera-Cailliau, Terrence J. Sejnowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


A leading theory holds that neurodevelopmental brain disorders arise from imbalances in excitatory and inhibitory (E/I) brain circuitry. However, it is unclear whether this one-dimensional model is rich enough to capture the multiple neural circuit alterations underlying brain disorders. Here, we combined computational simulations with analysis of in vivo two-photon Ca2+ imaging data from somatosensory cortex of Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice, a model of Fragile-X Syndrome, to test the E/I imbalance theory. We found that: (1) The E/I imbalance model cannot account for joint alterations in the observed neural firing rates and correlations; (2) Neural circuit function is vastly more sensitive to changes in some cellular components over others; (3) The direction of circuit alterations in Fmr1 KO mice changes across development. These findings suggest that the basic E/I imbalance model should be updated to higher dimensional models that can better capture the multidimensional computational functions of neural circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere26724
StatePublished - Oct 11 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this