Frontiers in Neural Circuits

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


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    Frontiers in neural circuits (online)
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Publications in this journal

  • Frontiers in Neural Circuits 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The exponential increase in available neural data has combined with the exponential growth in computing ("Moore's law") to create new opportunities to understand neural systems at large scale and high detail. The ability to produce large and sophisticated simulations has introduced unique challenges to neuroscientists. Computational models in neuroscience are increasingly broad efforts, often involving the collaboration of experts in different domains. Furthermore, the size and detail of models have grown to levels for which understanding the implications of variability and assumptions is no longer trivial. Here, we introduce the model design platform N2A which aims to facilitate the design and validation of biologically realistic models. N2A uses a hierarchical representation of neural information to enable the integration of models from different users. N2A streamlines computational validation of a model by natively implementing standard tools in sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification. The part-relationship representation allows both network-level analysis and dynamical simulations. We will demonstrate how N2A can be used in a range of examples, including a simple Hodgkin-Huxley cable model, basic parameter sensitivity of an 80/20 network, and the expression of the structural plasticity of a growing dendrite and stem cell proliferation and differentiation.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:1.
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    ABSTRACT: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is getting a lot of attention recently for two reasons. First, it is one of the most commonly found childhood disorders and second, the root cause of the problem is still unknown. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data has become a popular tool for the analysis of ADHD, which is the focus of our current research. In this paper we propose a novel framework for the automatic classification of the ADHD subjects using their resting state fMRI (rs-fMRI) data of the brain. We construct brain functional connectivity networks for all the subjects. The nodes of the network are constructed with clusters of highly active voxels and edges between any pair of nodes represent the correlations between their average fMRI time series. The activity level of the voxels are measured based on the average power of their corresponding fMRI time-series. For each node of the networks, a local descriptor comprising of a set of attributes of the node is computed. Next, the Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) technique is used to project all the subjects from the unknown graph-space to a low dimensional space based on their inter-graph distance measures. Finally, the Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier is used on the low dimensional projected space for automatic classification of the ADHD subjects. Exhaustive experimental validation of the proposed method is performed using the data set released for the ADHD-200 competition. Our method shows promise as we achieve impressive classification accuracies on the training (70.49%) and test data sets (73.55%). Our results reveal that the detection rates are higher when classification is performed separately on the male and female groups of subjects.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:64.
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian hippocampus expresses highly organized patterns of neuronal activity which form a neuronal correlate of spatial memories. These memory-encoding neuronal ensembles form on top of different network oscillations which entrain neurons in a state- and experience-dependent manner. The mechanisms underlying activation, timing and selection of participating neurons are incompletely understood. Here we studied the synaptic mechanisms underlying one prominent network pattern called sharp wave-ripple complexes (SPW-R) which are involved in memory consolidation during sleep. We recorded SPW-R with extracellular electrodes along the different layers of area CA1 in mouse hippocampal slices. Contribution of glutamatergic excitation and GABAergic inhibition, respectively, was probed by local application of receptor antagonists into s. radiatum, pyramidale and oriens. Laminar profiles of field potentials show that GABAergic potentials contribute substantially to sharp waves and superimposed ripple oscillations in s. pyramidale. Inhibitory inputs to s. pyramidale and s. oriens are crucial for action potential timing by ripple oscillations, as revealed by multiunit-recordings in the pyramidal cell layer. Glutamatergic afferents, on the other hand, contribute to sharp waves in s. radiatum where they also evoke a fast oscillation at ~200 Hz. Surprisingly, field ripples in s. radiatum are slightly slower than ripples in s. pyramidale, resulting in a systematic shift between dendritic and somatic oscillations. This complex interplay between dendritic excitation and perisomatic inhibition may be responsible for the precise timing of discharge probability during the time course of SPW-R. Together, our data illustrate a complementary role of spatially confined excitatory and inhibitory transmission during highly ordered network patterns in the hippocampus.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:103.
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    ABSTRACT: The central pattern generators (CPGs) for locomotion, located in the lumbar spinal cord, are functional at birth in the rat. Their maturation occurs during the last few days preceding birth, a period during which the first projections from the brainstem start to reach the lumbar enlargement of the spinal cord. Locomotor burst activity in the mature intact spinal cord alternates between flexor and extensor motoneurons through reciprocal inhibition and between left and right sides through commisural inhibitory interneurons. By contrast, all motor bursts are in phase in the fetus. The alternating pattern disappears after neonatal spinal cord transection which suppresses supraspinal influences upon the locomotor networks. This article will review the role of serotonin (5-HT), in particular 5-HT2 receptors, in shaping the alternating pattern. For instance, pharmacological activation of these receptors restores the left-right alternation after injury. Experiments aimed at either reducing the endogenous level of serotonin in the spinal cord or blocking the activation of 5-HT2 receptors. We then describe recent evidence that the action of 5-HT2 receptors is mediated, at least in part, through a modulation of chloride homeostasis. The postsynaptic action of GABA and glycine depends on the intracellular concentration of chloride ions which is regulated by a protein in the plasma membrane, the K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter (KCC2) extruding both K(+) and Cl(-) ions. Absence or reduction of KCC2 expression leads to a depolarizing action of GABA and glycine and a marked reduction in the strength of postsynaptic inhibition. This latter situation is observed early during development and in several pathological conditions, such as after spinal cord injury, thereby causing spasticity and chronic pain. It was recently shown that specific activation of 5-HT2A receptors is able to up-regulate KCC2, restore endogenous inhibition and reduce spasticity.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:102.
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    ABSTRACT: Layer 5 pyramidal neurons (L5PNs) in the mouse prefrontal cortex respond to serotonin (5-HT) according to their long-distance axonal projections; 5-HT1A (1A) receptors mediate inhibitory responses in corticopontine (CPn) L5PNs, while 5-HT2A (2A) receptors can enhance action potential (AP) output in callosal/commissural (COM) L5PNs, either directly (in “COM-excited” neurons), or following brief 1A-mediated inhibition (in “COM-biphasic” neurons). Here we compare the impact of 5-HT on the excitability of CPn and COM L5PNs experiencing variable excitatory drive produced by current injection (DC current or simulated synaptic current) or with exogenous glutamate. 5-HT delivered at resting membrane potentials, or paired with subthreshold depolarizing input, hyperpolarized CPn and COM-biphasic L5PNs and failed to promote AP generation in COM-excited L5PNs. Conversely, when paired with suprathreshold excitatory drive generating multiple APs, 5-HT suppressed AP output in CPn L5PNs, enhanced AP generation in COM-excited L5PNs, and generated variable responses in COM-biphasic L5PNs. While COM-excited neurons failed to respond to 5-HT in the presence of a 2A receptor antagonist, 32% of CPn neurons exhibited 2A-dependent excitation following blockade of 1A receptors. The presence of pharmacologically revealed 2A receptors in CPn L5PNs was correlated with the duration of 1A-mediated inhibition, yet biphasic excitatory responses to 5-HT were never observed, even when 5-HT was paired with strong excitatory drive. Our results suggest that 2A receptors selectively amplify the output of COM L5PNs experiencing suprathreshold excitatory drive, while shaping the duration of 1A-mediated inhibition in a subset of CPn L5PNs. Activity-dependent serotonergic excitation of COM L5PNs, combined with 1A-mediated inhibition of CPn and COM-biphasic L5PNs, may facilitate executive function by focusing network activity within cortical circuits subserving the most appropriate behavioral output.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8.
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    ABSTRACT: In drug users, drug-related cues alone can induce dopamine release in the dorsal striatum. Instructive cues activate inputs to the striatum from both dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons, which are thought to work together to support motor learning and motivated behaviors. Imbalances in these neuromodulatory influences can impair normal action selection and might thus contribute to pathologically repetitive and compulsive behaviors such as drug addiction. Dopamine and acetylcholine can have either antagonistic or synergistic effects on behavior, depending on the state of the animal and the receptor signaling systems at play. Semi-synchronized activation of cholinergic interneurons in the dorsal striatum drives dopamine release via presynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors located on dopamine terminals. Nicotinic receptor blockade is known to diminish abnormal repetitive behaviors (stereotypies) induced by psychomotor stimulants. By contrast, blockade of postsynaptic acetylcholine muscarinic receptors in the dorsomedial striatum exacerbates drug-induced stereotypy, exemplifying how different acetylcholine receptors can also have opposing effects. Although acetylcholine release is known to be altered in animal models of drug addiction, predicting whether these changes will augment or diminish drug-induced behaviors thus remains a challenge. Here, we measured amphetamine-induced stereotypy in BAC transgenic mice that have been shown to overexpress the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) with consequent increased acetylcholine release. We found that drug-induced stereotypies, consisting of confined sniffing and licking behaviors, were greatly increased in the transgenic mice relative to sibling controls, as was striatal VAChT protein. These findings suggest that VAChT-mediated increases in acetylcholine could be critical in exacerbating drug-induced stereotypic behaviors and promoting exaggerated behavioral fixity.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:57.
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    ABSTRACT: During goal-directed behavior, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) exerts top-down control over numerous cortical and subcortical regions. PFC dysfunction has been linked to many disorders that involve deficits in cognitive performance, attention, motivation, and/or impulse control. A common theme among these disorders is that neuromodulation of the PFC is disrupted. Anatomically, the PFC is reciprocally connected with virtually all neuromodulatory centers. Recent studies of PFC neurons, both in vivo and ex vivo, have found that subpopulations of prefrontal projection neurons can be segregated into distinct subcircuits based on their long-range projection targets. These subpopulations differ in their connectivity, intrinsic properties, and responses to neuromodulators. In this review we outline the evidence for subcircuit-specific neuromodulation in the PFC, and describe some of the functional consequences of selective neuromodulation on behavioral states during goal-directed behavior.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:54.
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    ABSTRACT: [This corrects the article on p. 36 in vol. 8, PMID: 24782717.].
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:48.

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