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Emergent properties and rhythm generation in cultured neural networks

English title Emergent properties and rhythm generation in cultured neural networks
Applicant Streit Jürg
Number 120327
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Physiologie Medizinische Fakultät Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Start/End 01.04.2008 - 30.09.2011
Approved amount 294'438.00
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Keywords (8)

central pattern generator; rhythm generation; oscillations; plasticity; Neural network; spinal cord; cortex; regeneration

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Practically all functions of the central nervous system emerge on the level of networks of neurons. In the mammalian brain such networks are interacting in a complex and distributed way, making their analysis difficult. Emerging properties of defined small networks are therefore better investigated in simplified systems like cell cultures. A key function of these networks is the generation of rhythmic patterns of activity. In the spinal cord, such activity patterns are used to drive repetitive movements for locomotion. In the cortex, rhythms are involved in perception and memory processes. Our project is involved in studying the mechanisms of rhythm and pattern generation in neural networks in culture. We are doing this by combining extracellular electrical recordings from many sites in the culture to investigate the network level with intracellular electrical recordings from single nerve cells to investigate the cellular level. Multisite recordings are realized using multielectrode arrays (MEAs), intracellular recordings are realized using whole cell patch clamp. At the moment we are interested in the influence of network size and network density on rhythm generation. We will test the hypothesis that a minimal network density is required for the generation of oscillatory activity. We will also investigate the role of long-range connections along the longitudinal axis of the spinal cord for the generation of defined patterns of rhythmic activity. In addition, we will test the potential of such connections for regeneration after injury. This part of the project is related to the search for a model in which new strategies to improve recovery from spinal cord injury can be tested. Rhythm generation is also a prominent feature of cortical networks in organotypic slice cultures from neonatal rats. We will investigate the mechanisms underlying such activity. Furthermore we want to know how rhythm generation is modified by electrical stimulation protocols and by chemical substance as acetylcholine, serotonine or dopamine. Such substances are known to influence the excitability of nerve cells as well as the exchange of information between them. The major aim of our project is to gain new insights into the mechanisms of rhythm generation on the level of simple neural networks. We hope that such basic knowledge will be useful in the search for new strategies to improve functional recovery from brain and spinal cord injuries.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Functional regeneration of intraspinal connections in a new in vitro model.
Heidemann M, Streit J, Tscherter A (2014), Functional regeneration of intraspinal connections in a new in vitro model., in Neuroscience, 262, 40-52.
Grafted Neuronal Precursor Cells Differentiate and Integrate in Injured Hippocampus in Experimental Pneumococcal Meningitis
Hofer Sandra, Magloire Vincent, Streit Juerg, Leib Stephen L. (2012), Grafted Neuronal Precursor Cells Differentiate and Integrate in Injured Hippocampus in Experimental Pneumococcal Meningitis, in STEM CELLS, 30(6), 1206-1215.
Network activity and spike discharge oscillations in cortical slice cultures from neonatal rat.
Czarnecki Antonny, Tscherter Anne, Streit Jürg (2012), Network activity and spike discharge oscillations in cortical slice cultures from neonatal rat., in The European journal of neuroscience, 35(3), 375-88.
beta-POMPILIDOTOXIN MODULATES SPONTANEOUS ACTIVITY AND PERSISTENT SODIUM CURRENTS IN SPINAL NETWORKS
Magloire V., Czarnecki A., Anwander H., Streit J. (2011), beta-POMPILIDOTOXIN MODULATES SPONTANEOUS ACTIVITY AND PERSISTENT SODIUM CURRENTS IN SPINAL NETWORKS, in NEUROSCIENCE, 172, 129-138.
Intrinsic activity and positive feedback in motor circuits in organotypic spinal cord slice cultures
Magloire Vincent, Streit Juerg (2009), Intrinsic activity and positive feedback in motor circuits in organotypic spinal cord slice cultures, in EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 30(8), 1487-1497.
Modulation of Intrinsic Spiking in Spinal Cord Neurons
Czarnecki Antonny, Magloire Vincent, Streit Juerg (2009), Modulation of Intrinsic Spiking in Spinal Cord Neurons, in JOURNAL OF NEUROPHYSIOLOGY, 102(4), 2441-2452.
Local oscillations of spiking activity in organotypic spinal cord slice cultures
Czarnecki Antonny, Magloire Vincent, Streit Juerg (2008), Local oscillations of spiking activity in organotypic spinal cord slice cultures, in EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 27(8), 2076-2088.

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
107641 Emergent properties of cultured neural networks 01.04.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
140754 Mechanisms of rhythm generation in cultured neural networks: roles of INaP, ICAN, cholinergic neurons and endogenous electrical fields 01.04.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Practically all functions of the central nervous system emerge on the level of networks of neurons. In the mammalian brain such networks are interacting in a complex and distributed way, making their analysis difficult. Emerging properties of defined small networks are therefore better investigated in simplified systems like cell cultures. A key function of these networks is the generation of rhythmic patterns of activity. In the spinal cord such activity patterns are used to drive repetitive movements for locomotion. In the cortex, rhythms are involved in perception and memory processes. Our project is involved in studying the mechanisms of rhythm and pattern generation in neural networks in culture. We are doing this by combining multielectrode array (MEA) recordings to investigate the network level with intracellular patch clamp recordings to investigate the cellular level. At the moment we are interested in the influence of network size and network density on rhythm generation. We will test the hypothesis that a minimal network density is required for the generation of oscillatory activity that is based on repetitive network activation through recurrent excitation. In addition, we will investigate the role of propriospinal connections along the longitudinal axis of the spinal cord for the generation of defined patterns of rhythmic activity and their regeneration potential as a function of age. Rhythm generation is also a prominent feature of cortical networks in organotypic slice cultures from neonatal rats. We will investigate the mechanisms underlying such activity. Furthermore we want to know how rhythm generation is modified by electrical stimulation protocols and by chemical neuromodulators. The major aim of our project is to gain new insights into the mechanisms of phenomena, which emerge on the level of neural networks. We hope that such basic knowledge about rhythm and pattern generation in newly formed networks will help to evaluate how fetal neurons form functional networks when transplanted into the injured brain or spinal cord for therapeutic purposes.
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