NeuroGPS: automated localization of neurons for brain circuits using L1 minimization model.
ABSTRACT: Drawing the map of neuronal circuits at microscopic resolution is important to explain how brain works. Recent progresses in fluorescence labeling and imaging techniques have enabled measuring the whole brain of a rodent like a mouse at submicron-resolution. Considering the huge volume of such datasets, automatic tracing and reconstruct the neuronal connections from the image stacks is essential to form the large scale circuits. However, the first step among which, automated location the soma across different brain areas remains a challenge. Here, we addressed this problem by introducing L1 minimization model. We developed a fully automated system, NeuronGlobalPositionSystem (NeuroGPS) that is robust to the broad diversity of shape, size and density of the neurons in a mouse brain. This method allows locating the neurons across different brain areas without human intervention. We believe this method would facilitate the analysis of the neuronal circuits for brain function and disease studies.
Project description:Computations in brain circuits involve the coordinated activation of large populations of neurons distributed across brain areas. However, monitoring neuronal activity in the brain of intact animals with high temporal and spatial resolution has remained a technological challenge. Here we address this challenge by developing dense, three-dimensional (3-D) electrode arrays for electrophysiology. The 3-D arrays constitute the front-end of a modular and configurable system architecture that enables monitoring neuronal activity with unprecedented scale and resolution.
Project description:The precise annotation and accurate identification of neural structures are prerequisites for studying mammalian brain function. The orientation of neurons and neural circuits is usually determined by mapping brain images to coarse axial-sampling planar reference atlases. However, individual differences at the cellular level likely lead to position errors and an inability to orient neural projections at single-cell resolution. Here, we present a high-throughput precision imaging method that can acquire a co-localized brain-wide data set of both fluorescent-labelled neurons and counterstained cell bodies at a voxel size of 0.32 × 0.32 × 2.0??m in 3 days for a single mouse brain. We acquire mouse whole-brain imaging data sets of multiple types of neurons and projections with anatomical annotation at single-neuron resolution. The results show that the simultaneous acquisition of labelled neural structures and cytoarchitecture reference in the same brain greatly facilitates precise tracing of long-range projections and accurate locating of nuclei.
Project description:Serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBEM) is becoming increasingly popular for a wide range of applications in many disciplines from biology to material sciences. This review focuses on applications for circuit reconstruction in neuroscience, which is one of the major driving forces advancing SBEM. Neuronal circuit reconstruction poses exceptional challenges to volume EM in terms of resolution, field of view, acquisition time and sample preparation. Mapping the connections between neurons in the brain is crucial for understanding information flow and information processing in the brain. However, information on the connectivity between hundreds or even thousands of neurons densely packed in neuronal microcircuits is still largely missing. Volume EM techniques such as serial section TEM, automated tape-collecting ultramicrotome, focused ion-beam scanning electron microscopy and SBEM (microtome serial block-face scanning electron microscopy) are the techniques that provide sufficient resolution to resolve ultrastructural details such as synapses and provides sufficient field of view for dense reconstruction of neuronal circuits. While volume EM techniques are advancing, they are generating large data sets on the terabyte scale that require new image processing workflows and analysis tools. In this review, we present the recent advances in SBEM for circuit reconstruction in neuroscience and an overview of existing image processing and analysis pipelines.
Project description:Most behaviors, even simple innate reflexes, are mediated by circuits of neurons spanning areas throughout the brain. However, in most cases, the distribution and dynamics of firing patterns of these neurons during behavior are not known. We imaged activity, with cellular resolution, throughout the whole brains of zebrafish performing the optokinetic response. We found a sparse, broadly distributed network that has an elaborate but ordered pattern, with a bilaterally symmetrical organization. Activity patterns fell into distinct clusters reflecting sensory and motor processing. By correlating neuronal responses with an array of sensory and motor variables, we find that the network can be clearly divided into distinct functional modules. Comparing aligned data from multiple fish, we find that the spatiotemporal activity dynamics and functional organization are highly stereotyped across individuals. These experiments systematically reveal the functional architecture of neural circuits underlying a sensorimotor behavior in a vertebrate brain.
Project description:The complexity of neurons and neuronal circuits in brain tissue requires the genetic manipulation, labeling, and tracking of single cells. However, current methods for manipulating cells in brain tissue are limited to either bulk techniques, lacking single-cell accuracy, or manual methods that provide single-cell accuracy but at significantly lower throughputs and repeatability. Here, we demonstrate high-throughput, efficient, reliable, and combinatorial delivery of multiple genetic vectors and reagents into targeted cells within the same tissue sample with single-cell accuracy. Our system automatically loads nanoliter-scale volumes of reagents into a micropipette from multiwell plates, targets and transfects single cells in brain tissues using a robust electroporation technique, and finally preps the micropipette by automated cleaning for repeating the transfection cycle. We demonstrate multi-colored labeling of adjacent cells, both in organotypic and acute slices, and transfection of plasmids encoding different protein isoforms into neurons within the same brain tissue for analysis of their effects on linear dendritic spine density. Our platform could also be used to rapidly deliver, both ex vivo and in vivo, a variety of genetic vectors, including optogenetic and cell-type specific agents, as well as fast-acting reagents such as labeling dyes, calcium sensors, and voltage sensors to manipulate and track neuronal circuit activity at single-cell resolution.
Project description:The complex neuronal circuitry connected by submicron synapses in our brain calls for technologies that can map neural networks with ultrahigh spatiotemporal resolution to decipher the underlying mechanisms for multiple aspects of neuroscience. Here we show that, through combining graphene transistor arrays with scanning photocurrent microscopy, we can detect the electrical activities of individual synapses of primary hippocampal neurons. Through measuring the local conductance change of graphene optoelectronic probes directly underneath neuronal processes, we are able to estimate millivolt extracellular potential variations of individual synapses during depolarization. The ultrafast nature of graphene photocurrent response allows for decoding of activity patterns of individual synapses with a sub-millisecond temporal resolution. This new neurotechnology provides promising potentials for recording of electrophysiological outcomes of individual synapses in neural networks.
Project description:Recording the activity of large populations of neurons is an important step toward understanding the emergent function of neural circuits. Here we present a simple holographic method to simultaneously perform two-photon calcium imaging of neuronal populations across multiple areas and layers of mouse cortex in vivo. We use prior knowledge of neuronal locations, activity sparsity, and a constrained nonnegative matrix factorization algorithm to extract signals from neurons imaged simultaneously and located in different focal planes or fields of view. Our laser multiplexing approach is simple and fast, and could be used as a general method to image the activity of neural circuits in three dimensions across multiple areas in the brain.
Project description:Revealing the functional connectivity in natural neuronal networks is central to understanding circuits in the brain. Here, we show that silicon nanowire field-effect transistor (Si NWFET) arrays fabricated on transparent substrates can be reliably interfaced to acute brain slices. NWFET arrays were readily designed to record across a wide range of length scales, while the transparent device chips enabled imaging of individual cell bodies and identification of areas of healthy neurons at both upper and lower tissue surfaces. Simultaneous NWFET and patch clamp studies enabled unambiguous identification of action potential signals, with additional features detected at earlier times by the nanodevices. NWFET recording at different positions in the absence and presence of synaptic and ion-channel blockers enabled assignment of these features to presynaptic firing and postsynaptic depolarization from regions either close to somata or abundant in dendritic projections. In all cases, the NWFET signal amplitudes were from 0.3-3 mV. In contrast to conventional multielectrode array measurements, the small active surface of the NWFET devices, approximately 0.06 microm(2), provides highly localized multiplexed measurements of neuronal activities with demonstrated sub-millisecond temporal resolution and, significantly, better than 30 microm spatial resolution. In addition, multiplexed mapping with 2D NWFET arrays revealed spatially heterogeneous functional connectivity in the olfactory cortex with a resolution surpassing substantially previous electrical recording techniques. Our demonstration of simultaneous high temporal and spatial resolution recording, as well as mapping of functional connectivity, suggest that NWFETs can become a powerful platform for studying neural circuits in the brain.
Project description:Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a prominent model organism in neuroscience, as its small stereotyped nervous system offers unique advantages for studying neuronal circuits at the cellular level. Characterizing temporal dynamics of neuronal circuits is essential to fully understand neuronal processing. Characterization of the temporal dynamics of chemosensory circuits requires a precise and fast method to deliver multiple stimuli and monitor the animal's neuronal activity. Microfluidic platforms have been developed that offer an improved control of chemical delivery compared to manual methods. However, stimulating an animal with multiple chemicals at high speed is still difficult. In this work, we have developed a platform that can deliver any sequence of multiple chemical reagents, at sub-second resolution and without cross-contamination. We designed a network of chemical selectors wherein the chemical selected for stimulation is determined by the set of pressures applied to the chemical reservoirs. Modulation of inlet pressures has been automated to create robust, programmable sequences of subsecond chemical pulses. We showed that stimulation with sequences of different chemicals at the second to sub-second range can generate different neuronal activity patterns in chemosensory neurons; we observed previously unseen neuronal responses to a controlled chemical stimulation. Because of the speed and versatility of stimulus generated, this platform opens new possibilities to investigate neuronal circuits.
Project description:Locating circuit neurons and recording from them with single-cell resolution is a prerequisite for studying neural circuits. Determining neuron location can be challenging even in small nervous systems because neurons are densely packed, found in different layers, and are often covered by ganglion and nerve sheaths that impede access for recording electrodes and neuronal markers. We revisited the voltage-sensitive dye RH795 for its ability to stain and record neurons through the ganglion sheath. Bath-application of RH795 stained neuronal membranes in cricket, earthworm and crab ganglia without removing the ganglion sheath, revealing neuron cell body locations in different ganglion layers. Using the pyloric and gastric mill central pattern generating neurons in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab, Cancer borealis, we found that RH795 permeated the ganglion without major residue in the sheath and brightly stained somatic, axonal and dendritic membranes. Visibility improved significantly in comparison to unstained ganglia, allowing the identification of somata location and number of most STG neurons. RH795 also stained axons and varicosities in non-desheathed nerves, and it revealed the location of sensory cell bodies in peripheral nerves. Importantly, the spike activity of the sensory neuron AGR, which influences the STG motor patterns, remained unaffected by RH795, while desheathing caused significant changes in AGR activity. With respect to recording neural activity, RH795 allowed us to optically record membrane potential changes of sub-sheath neuronal membranes without impairing sensory activity. The signal-to-noise ratio was comparable with that previously observed in desheathed preparations and sufficiently high to identify neurons in single-sweep recordings and synaptic events after spike-triggered averaging. In conclusion, RH795 enabled staining and optical recording of neurons through the ganglion sheath and is therefore both a good anatomical marker for living neural tissue and a promising tool for studying neural activity of an entire network with single-cell resolution.