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Multi-frequency activation of neuronal networks by coordinated reset stimulation

Borys Lysyansky, Oleksandr V. Popovych and Peter A. Tass

We computationally study whether it is possible to stimulate a neuronal population in such a way that its mean firing rate increases without an increase of the population’s net synchronization. For this, we use coordinated reset (CR) stimulation, which has previously been developed to desynchronize populations of oscillatory neurons. Intriguingly, delivered to a population of predominantly silent FitzHugh–Nagumo or Hindmarsh–Rose neurons at sufficient stimulation amplitudes, CR robustly causes a multi-frequency activation: different Arnold tongues such as 1 : 1 or n :m entrained neuronal clusters emerge, which consist of phase-shifted sub clusters. Owing to the clustering pattern the neurons’ timing is well balanced, so that in total there is no synchronization. Our findings may contribute to the development of novel and safe stimulation treatments that specifically counteract cerebral hypo-activity without promoting pathological synchronization or inducing epileptic seizures.