[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a first-draft digital reconstruction of the microcircuitry of somatosensory cortex of juvenile rat. The reconstruction uses cellular and synaptic organizing principles to algorithmically reconstruct detailed anatomy and physiology from sparse experimental data. An objective anatomical method defines a neocortical volume of 0.29 ± 0.01 mm3 containing ∼31,000 neurons, and patch-clamp studies identify 55 layer-specific morphological and 207 morpho-electrical neuron subtypes. When digitally reconstructed neurons are positioned in the volume and synapse formation is restricted to biological bouton densities and numbers of synapses per connection, their overlapping arbors form ∼8 million connections with ∼37 million synapses. Simulations reproduce an array of in vitro and in vivo experiments without parameter tuning. Additionally, we find a spectrum of network states with a sharp transition from synchronous to asynchronous activity, modulated by physiological mechanisms. The spectrum of network states, dynamically reconfigured around this transition, supports diverse information processing strategies. PaperClip Video Abstract
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experimentally mapping synaptic connections, in terms of the numbers and locations of their synapses and estimating connection probabilities, is still not a tractable task, even for small volumes of tissue. In fact, the six layers of the neocortex contain thousands of unique types of synaptic connections between the many different types of neurons, of which only a handful have been characterized experimentally. Here we present a theoretical framework and a data-driven algorithmic strategy to digitally reconstruct the complete synaptic connectivity between the different types of neurons in a small well-defined volume of tissue-the micro-scale connectome of a neural microcircuit. By enforcing a set of established principles of synaptic connectivity, and leveraging interdependencies between fundamental properties of neural microcircuits to constrain the reconstructed connectivity, the algorithm yields three parameters per connection type that predict the anatomy of all types of biologically viable synaptic connections. The predictions reproduce a spectrum of experimental data on synaptic connectivity not used by the algorithm. We conclude that an algorithmic approach to the connectome can serve as a tool to accelerate experimental mapping, indicating the minimal dataset required to make useful predictions, identifying the datasets required to improve their accuracy, testing the feasibility of experimental measurements, and making it possible to test hypotheses of synaptic connectivity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: We present a physically-based computational model of the light sheet fluorescence microscope (LSFM). Based on Monte Carlo ray tracing and geometric optics, our method simulates the operational aspects and image formation process of the LSFM. This simulated, in silico LSFM creates synthetic images of digital fluorescent specimens that can resemble those generated by a real LSFM, as opposed to established visualization methods producing visually- plausible images. We also propose an accurate fluorescence rendering model which takes into account the intrinsic characteristics of fluorescent dyes to simulate the light interaction with fluorescent biological specimen.
Results: We demonstrate first results of our visualization pipeline to a simplified brain tissue model reconstructed from the somatosensory cortex of a young rat. The modeling aspects of the LSFM units are qualitatively analysed, and the results of the fluorescence model were quantitatively validated against the fluorescence brightness equation and characteristic emission spectra of different fluorescent dyes.
AMS subject classification: Modelling and simulation ￼
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: We present a physically-based computational model of the light sheet fluorescence microscope (LSFM). Based on Monte Carlo ray tracing and geometric optics, our method simulates the operational aspects and image formation process of the LSFM. This simulated, in silico LSFM creates synthetic images of digital fluorescent specimens that can resemble those generated by a real LSFM, as opposed to established visualization methods producing visually-plausible images. We also propose an accurate fluorescence rendering model which takes into account the intrinsic characteristics of fluorescent dyes to simulate the light interaction with fluorescent biological specimen.
Results: We demonstrate first results of our visualization pipeline to a simplified brain tissue model reconstructed from the somatosensory cortex of a young rat. The modelling aspects of the LSFM units are qualitatively analysed, and the results of the fluorescence model were quantitatively validated against the fluorescence brightness equation and characteristic emission spectra of different fluorescent dyes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The thick-tufted layer 5 (TTL5) pyramidal neuron is one of the most extensively studied neuron types in the mammalian neocortex and has become a benchmark for understanding information processing in excitatory neurons. By virtue of having the widest local axonal and dendritic arborization, the TTL5 neuron encompasses various local neocortical neurons and thereby defines the dimensions of neocortical microcircuitry. The TTL5 neuron integrates input across all neocortical layers and is the principal output pathway funneling information flow to subcortical structures. Several studies over the past decades have investigated the anatomy, physiology, synaptology, and pathophysiology of the TTL5 neuron. This review summarizes key discoveries and identifies potential avenues of research to facilitate an integrated and unifying understanding on the role of a central neuron in the neocortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bursts of activity in networks of neurons are thought to convey salient information and drive synaptic plasticity. Here we report that network bursts also exert a profound effect on Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity (STDP). In acute slices of juvenile rat somatosensory cortex we paired a network burst, which alone induced long-term depression (LTD), with STDP-induced long-term potentiation and depression (LTP and LTD). We observed that STDP-induced LTP was either unaffected, blocked or flipped into LTD by the network burst, and that STDP-induced LTD was either saturated or flipped into LTP, depending on the relative timing of the network burst with respect to spike coincidences of the STDP event. We hypothesized that network bursts flip STDP-induced LTP to LTD by depleting resources needed for LTP and therefore developed a resource-dependent STDP learning rule. In a model neural network under the influence of the proposed resource-dependent STDP rule, we found that excitatory synaptic coupling was homeostatically regulated to produce power law distributed burst amplitudes reflecting self-organized criticality, a state that ensures optimal information coding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the effects of environmental stimulation in autism can improve therapeutic interventions against debilitating sensory overload, social withdrawal, fear and anxiety. Here, we evaluate the role of environmental predictability on behavior and protein expression, and inter-individual differences, in the valproic acid (VPA) model of autism. Male rats embryonically exposed (E11.5) either to VPA, a known autism risk factor in humans, or to saline, were housed from weaning into adulthood in a standard laboratory environment, an unpredictably enriched environment, or a predictably enriched environment. Animals were tested for sociability, nociception, stereotypy, fear conditioning and anxiety, and for tissue content of glutamate signaling proteins in the primary somatosensory cortex, hippocampus and amygdala, and of corticosterone in plasma, amygdala and hippocampus. Standard group analyses on separate measures were complemented with a composite emotionality score, using Cronbach's Alpha analysis, and with multivariate profiling of individual animals, using Hierarchical Cluster Analysis. We found that predictable environmental enrichment prevented the development of hyper-emotionality in the VPA-exposed group, while unpredictable enrichment did not. Individual variation in the severity of the autistic-like symptoms (fear, anxiety, social withdrawal and sensory abnormalities) correlated with neurochemical profiles, and predicted their responsiveness to predictability in the environment. In controls, the association between socio-affective behaviors, neurochemical profiles and environmental predictability was negligible. This study suggests that rearing in a predictable environment prevents the development of hyper-emotional features in animals exposed to an autism risk factor, and demonstrates that unpredictable environments can lead to negative outcomes, even in the presence of environmental enrichment.
Frontiers in Neuroscience 06/2015; 9:127. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00127 · 3.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cerebral cartography can be understood in a limited, static, neuroanatomical sense. Temporal information from electrical recordings contributes information on regional interactions adding a functional dimension. Selective tagging and imaging of molecules adds biochemical contributions. Cartographic detail can also be correlated with normal or abnormal psychological or behavioural data. Modern cerebral cartography is assimilating all these elements. Cartographers continue to collect ever more precise data in the hope that general principles of organization will emerge. However, even detailed cartographic data cannot generate knowledge without a multi-scale framework making it possible to relate individual observations and discoveries. We propose that, in the next quarter century, advances in cartography will result in progressively more accurate drafts of a data-led, multi-scale model of human brain structure and function. These blueprints will result from analysis of large volumes of neuroscientific and clinical data, by a process of reconstruction, modelling and simulation. This strategy will capitalize on remarkable recent developments in informatics and computer science and on the existence of much existing, addressable data and prior, though fragmented, knowledge. The models will instantiate principles that govern how the brain is organized at different levels and how different spatio-temporal scales relate to each other in an organ-centred context.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 05/2015; 370(1668). DOI:10.1098/rstb.2014.0171 · 7.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a physically-based computational model of the light sheet fluorescence microscope (LSFM). Based on Monte Carlo ray tracing and geometric optics, our method simulates the operational aspects and image formation process of the LSFM. An extension for previous fluorescence models is developed to account for the intrinsic characteristics of fluorescent dyes in order to accurately simulate light interaction with fluorescent-tagged biological specimen. This extension was quantitatively validated against the fluorescence brightness equation and experimental spectra of different dyes. We demonstrate first results of our rendering pipeline to a simplified brain tissue model reconstructed from the somatosensory cortex of a young rat.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spatial arrangement of Ca2+ channels and vesicles remains unknown for most CNS synapses, despite of the crucial importance of this geometrical parameter for the Ca2+ control of transmitter release. At a large model synapse, the calyx of Held, transmitter release is controlled by several Ca2+ channels in a "domain overlap" mode, at least in young animals. To study the geometrical constraints of Ca2+ channel placement in domain overlap control of release, we used stochastic MCell modelling, at active zones for which the position of docked vesicles was derived from electron microscopy (EM). We found that random placement of Ca2+ channels was unable to produce high slope values between release and presynaptic Ca2+ entry, a hallmark of domain overlap, and yielded excessively large release probabilities. The simple assumption that Ca2+ channels can be located anywhere at active zones, except below a critical distance of ~ 30 nm away from docked vesicles ("exclusion zone"), rescued high slope values and low release probabilities. Alternatively, high slope values can also be obtained by placing all Ca2+ channels into a single supercluster, which however results in significantly higher heterogeneity of release probabilities. We also show experimentally that high slope values, and the sensitivity to the slow Ca2+ chelator EGTA-AM, are maintained with developmental maturation of the calyx synapse. Taken together, domain overlap control of release represents a highly organized active zone architecture in which Ca2+ channels must obey a certain distance to docked vesicles. Furthermore, domain overlap can be employed by near-mature, fast-releasing synapses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive mapping of neuronal connections in the central nervous system
requires high-throughput um-scale imaging of large volumes. In recent years,
different approaches have been developed to overcome the limitations due to
tissue light scattering. These methods are generally developed to improve the
performance of a specific imaging modality, thus limiting comprehensive
neuroanatomical exploration by multimodal optical techniques. Here, we
introduce a versatile brain clearing agent (2,2'-thiodiethanol; TDE) suitable
for various applications and imaging techniques. TDE is cost-efficient,
water-soluble and low-viscous and, more importantly, it preserves fluorescence,
is compatible with immunostaining and does not cause deformations at
sub-cellular level. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this method in
different applications: in fixed samples by imaging a whole mouse hippocampus
with serial two-photon tomography; in combination with CLARITY by
reconstructing an entire mouse brain with light sheet microscopy and in
translational research by imaging immunostained human dysplastic brain tissue.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cinnamon extract is associated to different health benefits but the active ingredients or pathways are unknown. Cinnamaldehyde (CIN) imparts the characteristic flavor to cinnamon and is known to be the main agonist of transient receptor potential-ankyrin receptor 1 (TRPA1). Here, expression of TRPA1 in epithelial mouse stomach cells is described. After receiving a single-dose of CIN, mice significantly reduce cumulative food intake and gastric emptying rates. Co-localization of TRPA1 and ghrelin in enteroendocrine cells of the duodenum is observed both in vivo and in the MGN3-1 cell line, a ghrelin secreting cell model, where incubation with CIN up-regulates expression of TRPA1 and Insulin receptor genes. Ghrelin secreted in the culture medium was quantified following CIN stimulation and we observe that octanoyl and total ghrelin are significantly lower than in control conditions. Additionally, obese mice fed for five weeks with CIN-containing diet significantly reduce their cumulative body weight gain and improve glucose tolerance without detectable modification of insulin secretion. Finally, in adipose tissue up-regulation of genes related to fatty acid oxidation was observed. Taken together, the results confirm anti-hyperglycemic and anti-obesity effects of CIN opening a new approach to investigate how certain spice derived compounds regulate endogenous ghrelin release for therapeutic intervention.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Active ingredients of spices (AIS) modulate neural response in the peripheral nervous system, mainly through interaction with TRP channel/receptors. The present study explores how different AIS modulate neural response in layer 5 pyramidal neurons of S1 neocortex. The AIS tested are agonists of TRPV1/3, TRPM8 or TRPA1. Our results demonstrate that capsaicin, eugenol, menthol, icilin and cinnamaldehyde, but not AITC dampen the generation of APs in a voltage- and time-dependent manner. This effect was further tested for the TRPM8 ligands in the presence of a TRPM8 blocker (BCTC) and on TRPM8 KO mice. The observable effect was still present. Finally, the influence of the selected AIS was tested on in vitro gabazine-induced seizures. Results coincide with the above observations: except for cinnamaldehyde, the same AIS were able to reduce the number, duration of the AP bursts and increase the concentration of gabazine needed to elicit them. In conclusion, our data suggests that some of these AIS can modulate glutamatergic neurons in the brain through a TRP-independent pathway, regardless of whether the neurons are stimulated intracellularly or by hyperactive microcircuitry.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Computer-implemented methods, software, and systems for determining a distribution of neuronal cells across a portion of a brain are described. One computer-implemented method for determining a target distribution of one or more neuronal cells across a portion of a brain, comprising: constraining, by one or more computers, a start distribution of the one or more neuronal cells by expression of one or more marker genes and by protein stain of the one or more marker genes across the portion of the brain to obtain the target distribution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Scientists in many disciplines use spatial mesh models to study physical phenomena. Simulating natural phenomena by changing meshes over time helps to better understand the phenomena. The higher the precision of the mesh models, the more insight do the scientists gain and they thus continuously increase the detail of the meshes and build them as detailed as their instruments and the simulation hardware allow. In the process, the data volume also increases, slowing down the execution of spatial range queries needed to monitor the simulation considerably. Indexing speeds up range query execution, but the overhead to maintain the indexes is considerable because almost the entire mesh changes unpredictably at every simulation step. Using a simple linear scan, on the other hand, requires accessing the entire mesh and the performance deteriorates as the size of the dataset grows. In this paper we propose OCTOPUS, a strategy for executing range queries on mesh datasets that change unpredictably during simulations. In OCTOPUS we use the key insight that the mesh surface along with the mesh connectivity is sufficient to retrieve accurate query results efficiently. With this novel query execution strategy, OCTOPUS minimizes index maintenance cost and reduces query execution time considerably. Our experiments show that OCTOPUS achieves a speedup between 7.3 and 9.2× compared to the state of the art and that it scales better with increasing mesh dataset size and detail.
2014 IEEE 30th International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE); 03/2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The patch-clamp technique is today the most well-established method for recording electrical activity from individual neurons or their subcellular compartments. Nevertheless, achieving stable recordings, even from individual cells, remains a time-consuming procedure of considerable complexity. Automation of many steps in conjunction with efficient information display can greatly assist experimentalists in performing a larger number of recordings with greater reliability and in less time. In order to achieve large-scale recordings we concluded the most efficient approach is not to fully automatize the process but to simplify the experimental steps and reduce the chances of human error while efficiently incorporating the experimenter's experience and visual feedback. With these goals in mind we developed a computer-assisted system which centralizes all the controls necessary for a multi-electrode patch-clamp experiment in a single interface, a commercially available wireless gamepad, while displaying experiment related information and guidance cues on the computer screen. Here we describe the different components of the system which allowed us to reduce the time required for achieving the recording configuration and substantially increase the chances of successfully recording large numbers of neurons simultaneously.
Journal of Visualized Experiments 11/2013; DOI:10.3791/50630 · 1.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although twenty-first century neuroscience is a major scientific enterprise, advances in basic research have not yet translated into benefits for society. In this paper, I outline seven fundamental challenges that need to be overcome. First, neuroscience has to become "big science" - we need big teams with the resources and competences to tackle the big problems. Second, we need to create interlinked sets of data providing a complete picture of single areas of the brain at their different levels of organization with "rungs" linking the descriptions for humans and other species. Such "data ladders" will help us to meet the third challenge - the development of efficient predictive tools, enabling us to drastically increase the information we can extract from expensive experiments. The fourth challenge goes one step further: we have to develop novel hardware and software sufficiently powerful to simulate the brain. In the future, supercomputer-based brain simulation will enable us to make in silico manipulations and recordings, which are currently completely impossible in the lab. The fifth and sixth challenges are translational. On the one hand we need to develop new ways of classifying and simulating brain disease, leading to better diagnosis and more effective drug discovery. On the other, we have to exploit our knowledge to build new brain-inspired technologies, with potentially huge benefits for industry and for society. This leads to the seventh challenge. Neuroscience can indeed deliver huge benefits but we have to be aware of widespread social concern about our work. We need to recognize the fears that exist, lay them to rest, and actively build public support for neuroscience research. We have to set goals for ourselves that the public can recognize and share. And then we have to deliver on our promises. Only in this way, will we receive the support and funding we need.