Modeling driver cells in developing neuronal networks.
ABSTRACT: Spontaneous emergence of synchronized population activity is a characteristic feature of developing brain circuits. Recent experiments in the developing neo-cortex showed the existence of driver cells able to impact the synchronization dynamics when single-handedly stimulated. We have developed a spiking network model capable to reproduce the experimental results, thus identifying two classes of driver cells: functional hubs and low functionally connected (LC) neurons. The functional hubs arranged in a clique orchestrated the synchronization build-up, while the LC drivers were lately or not at all recruited in the synchronization process. Notwithstanding, they were able to alter the network state when stimulated by modifying the temporal activation of the functional clique or even its composition. LC drivers can lead either to higher population synchrony or even to the arrest of population dynamics, upon stimulation. Noticeably, some LC driver can display both effects depending on the received stimulus. We show that in the model the presence of inhibitory neurons together with the assumption that younger cells are more excitable and less connected is crucial for the emergence of LC drivers. These results provide a further understanding of the structural-functional mechanisms underlying synchronized firings in developing circuits possibly related to the coordinated activity of cell assemblies in the adult brain.
Project description:Synchronization of neural activity across brain regions is critical to processes that include perception, learning, and memory. After traumatic brain injury (TBI), neuronal degeneration is one possible effect and can alter communication between neural circuits. Consequently, synchronization between neurons may change and can contribute to both lasting changes in functional brain networks and cognitive impairment in patients. However, fundamental principles relating exactly how TBI at the cellular scale affects synchronization of mesoscale circuits are not well understood. In this work, we use computational networks of Izhikevich integrate-and-fire neurons to study synchronized, oscillatory activity between clusters of neurons, which also adapt according to spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). We study how the connections within and between these neuronal clusters change as unidirectional connections form between the two neuronal populations. In turn, we examine how neuronal deletion, intended to mimic the temporary or permanent loss of neurons in the mesoscale circuit, affects these dynamics. We determine synchronization of two neuronal circuits requires very modest connectivity between these populations; approximately 10% of neurons projecting from one circuit to another circuit will result in high synchronization. In addition, we find that synchronization level inversely affects the strength of connection between neuronal microcircuits - moderately synchronized microcircuits develop stronger intercluster connections than do highly synchronized circuits. Finally, we find that highly synchronized circuits are largely protected against the effects of neuronal deletion but may display changes in frequency properties across circuits with targeted neuronal loss. Together, our results suggest that strongly and weakly connected regions differ in their inherent resilience to damage and may serve different roles in a larger network.
Project description:It has recently been discovered that single neuron stimulation can impact network dynamics in immature and adult neuronal circuits. Here we report a novel mechanism which can explain in neuronal circuits, at an early stage of development, the peculiar role played by a few specific neurons in promoting/arresting the population activity. For this purpose, we consider a standard neuronal network model, with short-term synaptic plasticity, whose population activity is characterized by bursting behavior. The addition of developmentally inspired constraints and correlations in the distribution of the neuronal connectivities and excitabilities leads to the emergence of functional hub neurons, whose stimulation/deletion is critical for the network activity. Functional hubs form a clique, where a precise sequential activation of the neurons is essential to ignite collective events without any need for a specific topological architecture. Unsupervised time-lagged firings of supra-threshold cells, in connection with coordinated entrainments of near-threshold neurons, are the key ingredients to orchestrate population activity.
Project description:Neuronal activity in sensory and fronto-parietal (FP) areas underlies the representation and attentional control, respectively, of sensory information maintained in visual working memory (VWM). Within these regions, beta/gamma phase-synchronization supports the integration of sensory functions, while synchronization in theta/alpha bands supports the regulation of attentional functions. A key challenge is to understand which mechanisms integrate neuronal processing across these distinct frequencies and thereby the sensory and attentional functions. We investigated whether such integration could be achieved by cross-frequency phase synchrony (CFS). Using concurrent magneto- and electroencephalography, we found that CFS was load-dependently enhanced between theta and alpha-gamma and between alpha and beta-gamma oscillations during VWM maintenance among visual, FP, and dorsal attention (DA) systems. CFS also connected the hubs of within-frequency-synchronized networks and its strength predicted individual VWM capacity. We propose that CFS integrates processing among synchronized neuronal networks from theta to gamma frequencies to link sensory and attentional functions.
Project description:Neuronal responses to sensory stimuli are not only driven by feedforward sensory pathways but also depend upon intrinsic factors (collectively known as the network state) that include ongoing spontaneous activity and neuromodulation. To understand how these factors together regulate cortical dynamics, we recorded simultaneously spontaneous and somatosensory-evoked multiunit activity from primary somatosensory cortex and from the locus coeruleus (LC) (the neuromodulatory nucleus releasing norepinephrine) in urethane-anesthetized rats. We found that bursts of ipsilateral-LC firing preceded by few tens of milliseconds increases of cortical excitability, and that the 1- to 10-Hz rhythmicity of LC discharge appeared to increase the power of delta-band (1-4 Hz) cortical synchronization. To investigate quantitatively how LC firing might causally influence spontaneous and stimulus-driven cortical dynamics, we then constructed and fitted to these data a model describing the dynamical interaction of stimulus drive, ongoing synchronized cortical activity, and noradrenergic neuromodulation. The model proposes a coupling between LC and cortex that can amplify delta-range cortical fluctuations, and shows how suitably timed phasic LC bursts can lead to enhanced cortical responses to weaker stimuli and increased temporal precision of cortical stimulus-evoked responses. Thus, the temporal structure of noradrenergic modulation may selectively and dynamically enhance or attenuate cortical responses to stimuli. Finally, using the model prediction of single-trial cortical stimulus-evoked responses to discount single-trial state-dependent variability increased by ∼70% the sensory information extracted from cortical responses. This suggests that downstream circuits may extract information more effectively after estimating the state of the circuit transmitting the sensory message.
Project description:Inter-areal synchronization of neuronal oscillations at frequencies below ~100?Hz is a pervasive feature of neuronal activity and is thought to regulate communication in neuronal circuits. In contrast, faster activities and oscillations have been considered to be largely local-circuit-level phenomena without large-scale synchronization between brain regions. We show, using human intracerebral recordings, that 100-400?Hz high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) may be synchronized between widely distributed brain regions. HFO synchronization expresses individual frequency peaks and exhibits reliable connectivity patterns that show stable community structuring. HFO synchronization is also characterized by a laminar profile opposite to that of lower frequencies. Importantly, HFO synchronization is both transiently enhanced and suppressed in separate frequency bands during a response-inhibition task. These findings show that HFO synchronization constitutes a functionally significant form of neuronal spike-timing relationships in brain activity and thus a mesoscopic indication of neuronal communication per se.
Project description:The analysis of the interplay between structural and functional networks require experiments where both the specific structure of the connections between nodes and the time series of the underlying dynamical units are known at the same time. However, real datasets typically contain only one of the two ways (structural or functional) a network can be observed. Here, we provide experimental recordings of the dynamics of 28 nonlinear electronic circuits coupled in 20 different network configurations. For each network, we modify the coupling strength between circuits, going from an incoherent state of the system to a complete synchronization scenario. Time series containing 30000 points are recorded using a data-acquisition card capturing the analogic output of each circuit. The experiment is repeated three times for each network structure allowing to track the path to the synchronized state both at the level of the nodes (with its direct neighbours) and at the whole network. These datasets can be useful to test new metrics to evaluate the coordination between dynamical systems and to investigate to what extent the coupling strength is related to the correlation between functional and structural networks.
Project description:The epileptic network is characterized by pathologic, seizure-generating 'foci' embedded in a web of structural and functional connections. Clinically, seizure foci are considered optimal targets for surgery. However, poor surgical outcome suggests a complex relationship between foci and the surrounding network that drives seizure dynamics. We developed a novel technique to objectively track seizure states from dynamic functional networks constructed from intracranial recordings. Each dynamical state captures unique patterns of network connections that indicate synchronized and desynchronized hubs of neural populations. Our approach suggests that seizures are generated when synchronous relationships near foci work in tandem with rapidly changing desynchronous relationships from the surrounding epileptic network. As seizures progress, topographical and geometrical changes in network connectivity strengthen and tighten synchronous connectivity near foci-a mechanism that may aid seizure termination. Collectively, our observations implicate distributed cortical structures in seizure generation, propagation and termination, and may have practical significance in determining which circuits to modulate with implantable devices.
Project description:The engineering of genetic circuits with predictive functionality in living cells represents a defining focus of the expanding field of synthetic biology. This focus was elegantly set in motion a decade ago with the design and construction of a genetic toggle switch and an oscillator, with subsequent highlights that have included circuits capable of pattern generation, noise shaping, edge detection and event counting. Here we describe an engineered gene network with global intercellular coupling that is capable of generating synchronized oscillations in a growing population of cells. Using microfluidic devices tailored for cellular populations at differing length scales, we investigate the collective synchronization properties along with spatiotemporal waves occurring at millimetre scales. We use computational modelling to describe quantitatively the observed dependence of the period and amplitude of the bulk oscillations on the flow rate. The synchronized genetic clock sets the stage for the use of microbes in the creation of a macroscopic biosensor with an oscillatory output. Furthermore, it provides a specific model system for the generation of a mechanistic description of emergent coordinated behaviour at the colony level.
Project description:The integration of direct bottom-up inputs with contextual information is a core feature of neocortical circuits. In area V1, neurons may reduce their firing rates when their receptive field input can be predicted by spatial context. Gamma-synchronized (30-80 Hz) firing may provide a complementary signal to rates, reflecting stronger synchronization between neuronal populations receiving mutually predictable inputs. We show that large uniform surfaces, which have high spatial predictability, strongly suppressed firing yet induced prominent gamma synchronization in macaque V1, particularly when they were colored. Yet, chromatic mismatches between center and surround, breaking predictability, strongly reduced gamma synchronization while increasing firing rates. Differences between responses to different colors, including strong gamma-responses to red, arose from stimulus adaptation to a full-screen background, suggesting prominent differences in adaptation between M- and L-cone signaling pathways. Thus, synchrony signaled whether RF inputs were predicted from spatial context, while firing rates increased when stimuli were unpredicted from context.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Abnormal synchronization of brain oscillations is found to be associated with various core symptoms of schizophrenia. However, the underlying mechanism of this association remains yet to be elucidated. RESULTS: In this study, we found that coupled local and global feedback (CLGF) circuits in the cortical functional network are related to the abnormal synchronization and also correlated to the negative symptom of schizophrenia. Analysis of the magnetoencephalography data obtained from patients with chronic schizophrenia during rest revealed an increase in beta band synchronization and a reduction in gamma band power compared to healthy controls. Using a feedback identification method based on non-causal impulse responses, we constructed functional feedback networks and found that CLGF circuits were significantly reduced in schizophrenia. From computational analysis on the basis of the Wilson-Cowan model, we unraveled that the CLGF circuits are critically involved in the abnormal synchronization and the dynamical switching between beta and gamma bands power in schizophrenia. Moreover, we found that the abundance of CLGF circuits was negatively correlated with the development of negative symptoms of schizophrenia, suggesting that the negative symptom is closely related to the impairment of this circuit. CONCLUSIONS: Our study implicates that patients with schizophrenia might have the impaired coupling of inter- and intra-regional functional feedbacks and that the CLGF circuit might serve as a critical bridge between abnormal synchronization and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.