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Science. 2019 Oct 24. pii: eaay3134. doi: 10.1126/science.aay3134. [Epub ahead of print]

Dense connectomic reconstruction in layer 4 of the somatosensory cortex.

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Department of Connectomics, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, D-60438 Frankfurt, Germany.
Probabilistic Numerics Group, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The dense circuit structure of mammalian cerebral cortex is still unknown. With developments in three-dimensional electron microscopy, the imaging of sizeable volumes of neuropil has become possible, but dense reconstruction of connectomes is the limiting step. We reconstructed a volume of ~500,000 μm3 from layer 4 of mouse barrel cortex, ~300 times larger than previous dense reconstructions from the mammalian cerebral cortex. The connectomic data allowed the extraction of inhibitory and excitatory neuron subtypes that were not predictable from geometric information. We quantified connectomic imprints consistent with Hebbian synaptic weight adaptation, which yielded upper bounds for the fraction of the circuit consistent with saturated long-term potentiation. These data establish an approach for connectomic phenotyping of local dense neuronal circuitry in the mammalian cortex.


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