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J Neurosci Methods. 2005 Feb 15;141(2):291-308.

CoCoDat: a database system for organizing and selecting quantitative data on single neurons and neuronal microcircuitry.

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C. and O. Vogt Brain Research Institute, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Moorenstr. 5, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


We present a novel database system for organizing and selecting quantitative experimental data on single neurons and neuronal microcircuitry that has proven useful for reference-keeping, experimental planning and computational modelling. Building on our previous experience with large neuroscientific databases, the system takes into account the diversity and method-dependence of single cell and microcircuitry data and provides tools for entering and retrieving published data without a priori interpretation or summarizing. Data representation is based on the framework suggested by biophysical theory and enables flexible combinations of data on membrane conductances, ionic and synaptic currents, morphology, connectivity and firing patterns. Innovative tools have been implemented for data retrieval with optional relaxation of search criteria along the conceptual dimensions of brain region, cortical layer, cell type and subcellular compartment. The relaxation procedures help to overcome the traditional trade-off between exact, non-interpreted data representation in the original nomenclature and convenient data retrieval. We demonstrate the use of these tools for the construction, tuning and validation of a multicompartmental model of a layer V pyramidal cell from the rat barrel cortex. CoCoDat is freely available at . Its application is scalable from offline use by individual researchers via local laboratory networks to a federation of distributed web sites in platform-independent XML format using Axiope tools.

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