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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057144. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Synaptic potentiation facilitates memory-like attractor dynamics in cultured in vitro hippocampal networks.

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  • 1Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America.

Abstract

Collective rhythmic dynamics from neurons is vital for cognitive functions such as memory formation but how neurons self-organize to produce such activity is not well understood. Attractor-based computational models have been successfully implemented as a theoretical framework for memory storage in networks of neurons. Additionally, activity-dependent modification of synaptic transmission is thought to be the physiological basis of learning and memory. The goal of this study is to demonstrate that using a pharmacological treatment that has been shown to increase synaptic strength within in vitro networks of hippocampal neurons follows the dynamical postulates theorized by attractor models. We use a grid of extracellular electrodes to study changes in network activity after this perturbation and show that there is a persistent increase in overall spiking and bursting activity after treatment. This increase in activity appears to recruit more "errant" spikes into bursts. Phase plots indicate a conserved activity pattern suggesting that a synaptic potentiation perturbation to the attractor leaves it unchanged. Lastly, we construct a computational model to demonstrate that these synaptic perturbations can account for the dynamical changes seen within the network.

PMID:
23526935
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3603961
Free PMC Article
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