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Lee S.,Center for Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research | Zemianek J.M.,Center for Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research | Shultz A.,Center for Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research | Vo A.,Center for Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Cultured embryonic neurons develop functional networks that transmit synaptic signals over multiple sequentially connected neurons as revealed by multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) embedded within the culture dish. Signal streams of ex vivo networks contain spikes and bursts of varying amplitude and duration. Despite the random interactions inherent in dissociated cultures, neurons are capable of establishing functional ex vivo networks that transmit signals among synaptically connected neurons, undergo developmental maturation, and respond to exogenous stimulation by alterations in signal patterns. These characteristics indicate that a considerable degree of organization is an inherent property of neurons. We demonstrate herein that (1) certain signal types occur more frequently than others, (2) the predominant signal types change during and following maturation, (3) signal predominance is dependent upon inhibitory activity, and (4) certain signals preferentially follow others in a non-reciprocal manner. These findings indicate that the elaboration of complex signal streams comprised of a non-random distribution of signal patterns is an emergent property of ex vivo neuronal networks. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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