skip to main content

Title: Quantitative firing pattern phenotyping of hippocampal neuron types

Systematically organizing the anatomical, molecular, and physiological properties of cortical neurons is important for understanding their computational functions. defines 122 neuron types in the rodent hippocampal formation based on their somatic, axonal, and dendritic locations, putative excitatory/inhibitory outputs, molecular marker expression, and biophysical properties. We augmented the electrophysiological data of this knowledge base by collecting, quantifying, and analyzing the firing responses to depolarizing current injections for every hippocampal neuron type from published experiments. We designed and implemented objective protocols to classify firing patterns based on 5 transients (delay, adapting spiking, rapidly adapting spiking, transient stuttering, and transient slow-wave bursting) and 4 steady states (non-adapting spiking, persistent stuttering, persistent slow-wave bursting, and silence). This automated approach revealed 9 unique (plus one spurious) families of firing pattern phenotypes while distinguishing potential new neuronal subtypes. Novel statistical associations emerged between firing responses and other electrophysiological properties, morphological features, and molecular marker expression. The firing pattern parameters, experimental conditions, spike times, references to the original empirical evidences, and analysis scripts are released open-source through for all neuron types, greatly enhancing the existing search and browse capabilities. This information, collated online in human- and machine-accessible form, will help design and interpret both more » experiments and model simulations.

« less
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. is a comprehensive knowledge base of neuron types in the rodent hippocampal formation (dentate gyrus, CA3, CA2, CA1, subiculum, and entorhinal cortex). Although the hippocampal literature is remarkably information-rich, neuron properties are often reported with incompletely defined and notoriously inconsistent terminology, creating a formidable challenge for data integration. Our extensive literature mining and data reconciliation identified 122 neuron types based on neurotransmitter, axonal and dendritic patterns, synaptic specificity, electrophysiology, and molecular biomarkers. All ∼3700 annotated properties are individually supported by specific evidence (∼14,000 pieces) in peer-reviewed publications. Systematic analysis of this unprecedented amount of machine-readable information reveals novel correlations among neuron types and properties, the potential connectivity of the full hippocampal circuitry, and outstanding knowledge gaps. User-friendly browsing and online querying of may aid design and interpretation of both experiments and simulations. This powerful, simple, and extensible neuron classification endeavor is unique in its detail, utility, and completeness.

  2. Abstract

    A common approach to interpreting spiking activity is based on identifying the firing fields—regions in physical or configuration spaces that elicit responses of neurons. Common examples include hippocampal place cells that fire at preferred locations in the navigated environment, head direction cells that fire at preferred orientations of the animal’s head, view cells that respond to preferred spots in the visual field, etc. In all these cases, firing fields were discovered empirically, by trial and error. We argue that the existence and a number of properties of the firing fields can be established theoretically, through topological analyses of the neuronal spiking activity. In particular, we use Leray criterion powered by persistent homology theory, Eckhoff conditions and Region Connection Calculus to verify consistency of neuronal responses with a single coherent representation of space.

  3. Morrison, Abigail (Ed.)
    Assessing directional influences between neurons is instrumental to understand how brain circuits process information. To this end, Granger causality, a technique originally developed for time-continuous signals, has been extended to discrete spike trains. A fundamental assumption of this technique is that the temporal evolution of neuronal responses must be due only to endogenous interactions between recorded units, including self-interactions. This assumption is however rarely met in neurophysiological studies, where the response of each neuron is modulated by other exogenous causes such as, for example, other unobserved units or slow adaptation processes. Here, we propose a novel point-process Granger causality technique that is robust with respect to the two most common exogenous modulations observed in real neuronal responses: within-trial temporal variations in spiking rate and between-trial variability in their magnitudes. This novel method works by explicitly including both types of modulations into the generalized linear model of the neuronal conditional intensity function (CIF). We then assess the causal influence of neuron i onto neuron j by measuring the relative reduction of neuron j ’s point process likelihood obtained considering or removing neuron i . CIF’s hyper-parameters are set on a per-neuron basis by minimizing Akaike’s information criterion. In synthetic data sets,more »generated by means of random processes or networks of integrate-and-fire units, the proposed method recovered with high accuracy, sensitivity and robustness the underlying ground-truth connectivity pattern. Application of presently available point-process Granger causality techniques produced instead a significant number of false positive connections. In real spiking responses recorded from neurons in the monkey pre-motor cortex (area F5), our method revealed many causal relationships between neurons as well as the temporal structure of their interactions. Given its robustness our method can be effectively applied to real neuronal data. Furthermore, its explicit estimate of the effects of unobserved causes on the recorded neuronal firing patterns can help decomposing their temporal variations into endogenous and exogenous components.« less
  4. Klausberger, Thomas (Ed.)
    Understanding brain operation demands linking basic behavioral traits to cell-type specific dynamics of different brain-wide subcircuits. This requires a system to classify the basic operational modes of neurons and circuits. Single-cell phenotyping of firing behavior during ongoing oscillations in vivo has provided a large body of evidence on entorhinal–hippocampal function, but data are dispersed and diverse. Here, we mined literature to search for information regarding the phase-timing dynamics of over 100 hippocampal/entorhinal neuron types defined in . We identified missing and unresolved pieces of knowledge (e.g., the preferred theta phase for a specific neuron type) and complemented the dataset with our own new data. By confronting the effect of brain state and recording methods, we highlight the equivalences and differences across conditions and offer a number of novel observations. We show how a heuristic approach based on oscillatory features of morphologically identified neurons can aid in classifying extracellular recordings of single cells and discuss future opportunities and challenges towards integrating single-cell phenotypes with circuit function.
  5. Abstract

    Negative correlations in the sequential evolution of interspike intervals (ISIs) are a signature of memory in neuronal spike-trains. They provide coding benefits including firing-rate stabilization, improved detectability of weak sensory signals, and enhanced transmission of information by improving signal-to-noise ratio. Primary electrosensory afferent spike-trains in weakly electric fish fall into two categories based on the pattern of ISI correlations: non-bursting units have negative correlations which remain negative but decay to zero with increasing lags (Type I ISI correlations), and bursting units have oscillatory (alternating sign) correlation which damp to zero with increasing lags (Type II ISI correlations). Here, we predict and match observed ISI correlations in these afferents using a stochastic dynamic threshold model. We determine the ISI correlation function as a function of an arbitrary discrete noise correlation function$${{\,\mathrm{\mathbf {R}}\,}}_k$$Rk, wherekis a multiple of the mean ISI. The function permits forward and inverse calculations of the correlation function. Both types of correlation functions can be generated by adding colored noise to the spike threshold with Type I correlations generated with slow noise and Type II correlations generated with fast noise. A first-order autoregressive (AR) process with a single parameter is sufficient to predict and accurately match both types of afferent ISImore »correlation functions, with the type being determined by the sign of the AR parameter. The predicted and experimentally observed correlations are in geometric progression. The theory predicts that the limiting sum of ISI correlations is$$-0.5$$-0.5yielding a perfect DC-block in the power spectrum of the spike train. Observed ISI correlations from afferents have a limiting sum that is slightly larger at$$-0.475 \pm 0.04$$-0.475±0.04($$\text {mean} \pm \text {s.d.}$$mean±s.d.). We conclude that the underlying process for generating ISIs may be a simple combination of low-order AR and moving average processes and discuss the results from the perspective of optimal coding.

    « less