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Ann Biomed Eng. 2009 Aug;37(8):1668-82. doi: 10.1007/s10439-009-9716-z. Epub 2009 Jun 5.

Boolean modeling of neural systems with point-process inputs and outputs. Part II: Application to the rat hippocampus.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, 1042 Downey Way, DRB 367, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1111, USA.


This paper presents a pilot application of the Boolean-Volterra modeling methodology presented in the companion paper (Part I) that is suitable for the analysis of systems with point-process inputs and outputs (e.g., recordings of the activity of neuronal ensembles). This application seeks to discover the causal links between two neuronal ensembles in the hippocampus of a behaving rat. The experimental data come from multi-unit recordings in the CA3 and CA1 regions of the hippocampus in the form of sequences of action potentials-treated mathematically as point-processes and computationally as spike-trains-that are collected in vivo during two behavioral tasks. The modeling objective is to identify and quantify the causal links among the neurons generating the recorded activity, using Boolean-Volterra models estimated directly from the data according to the methodological framework presented in the companion paper. The obtained models demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach using short data-records and provide some insights into the functional properties of the system (e.g., regarding the presence of rhythmic characteristics in the neuronal dynamics of these ensembles), making the proposed methodology an attractive tool for the analysis and modeling of multi-unit recordings from neuronal systems in a practical context.

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