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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2007 Jun;54(6 Pt 1):1053-66.

Nonlinear dynamic modeling of spike train transformations for hippocampal-cortical prostheses.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Program in Neuroscience, Center for Neural Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.


One of the fundamental principles of cortical brain regions, including the hippocampus, is that information is represented in the ensemble firing of populations of neurons, i.e., spatio-temporal patterns of electrophysiological activity. The hippocampus has long been known to be responsible for the formation of declarative, or fact-based, memories. Damage to the hippocampus disrupts the propagation of spatio-temporal patterns of activity through hippocampal internal circuitry, resulting in a severe anterograde amnesia. Developing a neural prosthesis for the damaged hippocampus requires restoring this multiple-input, multiple-output transformation of spatio-temporal patterns of activity. Because the mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission and generation of electrical activity in neurons are inherently nonlinear, any such prosthesis must be based on a nonlinear multiple-input, multiple-output model. In this paper, we have formulated the transformational process of multi-site propagation of spike activity between two subregions of the hippocampus (CA3 and CA1) as the identification of a multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) system, and proposed that it can be decomposed into a series of multiple-input, single-output (MISO) systems. Each MISO system is modeled as a physiologically plausible structure that consists of 1) linear/nonlinear feedforward Volterra kernels modeling synaptic transmission and dendritic integration, 2) a linear feedback Volterra kernel modeling spike-triggered after-potentials, 3) a threshold for spike generation, 4) a summation process for somatic integration, and 5) a noise term representing intrinsic neuronal noise and the contributions of unobserved inputs. Input and output spike trains were recorded from hippocampal CA3 and CA1 regions of rats performing a spatial delayed-nonmatch-to-sample memory task that requires normal hippocampal function. Kernels were expanded with Laguerre basis functions and estimated using a maximum-likelihood method. Complexity of the feedforward kernel was progressively increased to capture higher-order system nonlinear dynamics. Results showed higher prediction accuracies as kernel complexity increased. Self-kernels describe the nonlinearities within each input. Cross-kernels capture the nonlinear interaction between inputs. Second- and third-order nonlinear models were found to successfully predict the CA1 output spike distribution based on CA3 input spike trains. First-order, linear models were shown to be insufficient.

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