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- Frontiers in Neuroscience
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INTRODUCTION Balance between excitatory and inhibitory neuron (interneuron) populations in the cortex promotes normal brain function. Interneurons are primarily generated in the medial, caudal, and lateral ganglionic eminences (MGE, CGE, and LGE) of the ventral embryonic forebrain; these subregions give rise to distinct interneuron subpopulations. In rodents, the MGE generates cortical interneurons, the parvalbumin + (PV + ) and somatostatin + (SST + ) subtypes that connect with excitatory neurons to regulate their activity. Defects in interneuron production have been implicated in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders including autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. RATIONALE How does the human MGE (hMGE) produce the number of interneurons required to populate the forebrain? The hMGE contains progenitor clusters distinct from what has been observed in the rodent MGE and other germinal zones of the human brain. This cytoarchitecture could be the key to understanding interneuron neurogenesis. We investigated the cellular and molecular properties of different compartments within the developing hMGE, from 14 gestational weeks (GW) to 39 GW (term), to study their contribution to the production of inhibitory interneurons. We developed a xenotransplantation assay to follow the migration and maturation of the human interneurons derived from this germinal region. RESULTS Within the hMGE, densely packedmore »
In biological brains, recurrent connections play a crucial role in cortical computation, modulation of network dynamics, and communication. However, in recurrent spiking neural networks (SNNs), recurrence is mostly constructed by random connections. How excitatory and inhibitory recurrent connections affect network responses and what kinds of connectivity benefit learning performance is still obscure. In this work, we propose a novel recurrent structure called the Laterally-Inhibited Self-Recurrent Unit (LISR), which consists of one excitatory neuron with a self-recurrent connection wired together with an inhibitory neuron through excitatory and inhibitory synapses. The self-recurrent connection of the excitatory neuron mitigates the information loss caused by the firing-and-resetting mechanism and maintains the long-term neuronal memory. The lateral inhibition from the inhibitory neuron to the corresponding excitatory neuron, on the one hand, adjusts the firing activity of the latter. On the other hand, it plays as a forget gate to clear the memory of the excitatory neuron. Based on speech and image datasets commonly used in neuromorphic computing, RSNNs based on the proposed LISR improve performance significantly by up to 9.26% over feedforward SNNs trained by a state-of-the-art backpropagation method with similar computational costs.
Navigation requires steering and propulsion, but how spinal circuits contribute to direction control during ongoing locomotion is not well understood. Here, we use drifting vertical gratings to evoke directed ‘fictive’ swimming in intact but immobilized larval zebrafish while performing electrophysiological recordings from spinal neurons. We find directed swimming involves unilateral changes in the duration of motor output and increased recruitment of motor neurons, without impacting the timing of spiking across or along the body. Voltage-clamp recordings from motor neurons reveal increases in phasic excitation and inhibition on the side of the turn. Current-clamp recordings from premotor interneurons that provide phasic excitation or inhibition reveal two types of recruitment patterns. A direction-agnostic pattern with balanced recruitment on the turning and non-turning sides is primarily observed in excitatory V2a neurons with ipsilateral descending axons, while a direction-sensitive pattern with preferential recruitment on the turning side is dominated by V2a neurons with ipsilateral bifurcating axons. Inhibitory V1 neurons are also divided into direction-sensitive and -agnostic subsets, although there is no detectable morphological distinction. Our findings support the modular control of steering and propulsion by spinal premotor circuits, where recruitment of distinct subsets of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons provide adjustments in direction while onmore »
Spinal circuits play an essential role in coordinating movements during locomotion. However, it is unclear how they participate in adjustments in direction that do not interfere with coordination. Here we have developed a system using larval zebrafish that allows us to directly record electrical signals from spinal neurons during ‘fictive’ swimming guided by visual cues. We find there are subsets of spinal interneurons for coordination and others that drive unilateral asymmetries in motor neuron recruitment for direction control. Our findings suggest a modular organization of spinal premotor circuits which enables uninterrupted adjustments in direction during ongoing locomotion.
Gutkin, Boris S. (Ed.)Converging evidence suggests the brain encodes time in dynamic patterns of neural activity, including neural sequences, ramping activity, and complex dynamics. Most temporal tasks, however, require more than just encoding time, and can have distinct computational requirements including the need to exhibit temporal scaling, generalize to novel contexts, or robustness to noise. It is not known how neural circuits can encode time and satisfy distinct computational requirements, nor is it known whether similar patterns of neural activity at the population level can exhibit dramatically different computational or generalization properties. To begin to answer these questions, we trained RNNs on two timing tasks based on behavioral studies. The tasks had different input structures but required producing identically timed output patterns. Using a novel framework we quantified whether RNNs encoded two intervals using either of three different timing strategies: scaling, absolute, or stimulus-specific dynamics. We found that similar neural dynamic patterns at the level of single intervals, could exhibit fundamentally different properties, including, generalization, the connectivity structure of the trained networks, and the contribution of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Critically, depending on the task structure RNNs were better suited for generalization or robustness to noise. Further analysis revealed different connection patterns underlyingmore »
The activity of motor cortex is necessary for accurate stepping on a complex terrain. How this activity is generated remains unclear. The goal of this study was to clarify the contribution of signals from the ventrolateral thalamus (VL) to formation of locomotion-related activity of motor cortex during vision-independent and vision-dependent locomotion. In two cats, we recorded the activity of neurons in layer V of motor cortex as cats walked on a flat surface and a horizontal ladder. We reversibly inactivated ~10% of the VL unilaterally with the glutamatergic transmission antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) and analyzed how this affected the activity of motor cortex neurons. We examined neuronal subpopulations with somatosensory receptive fields on different segments of the forelimb and pyramidal tract projecting neurons (PTNs). We found that the VL contribution to the locomotion-related activity of motor cortex is very powerful and has both excitatory and inhibitory components. The magnitudes of both the excitatory and inhibitory contributions fluctuate over the step cycle and depend on locomotion task. On a flat surface, the VL contributes more excitation to the shoulder- and elbow-related neurons than the wrist/paw-related cells. The VL excites the shoulder-related group the most during the transition from stance to swing phase,more »