Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal


Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal


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Costa M.R.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal | Costa M.R.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Hedin-Pereira C.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Frontiers in Neuroanatomy | Year: 2010

Since the pioneer work of Lorente de Nó, Ramón y Cajal, Brodmann, Mountcastle, Hubel and Wiesel and others, the cerebral cortex has been seen as a jigsaw of anatomic and functional modules involved in the processing of different sets of information. In fact, a columnar distribution of neurons displaying similar functional properties throughout the cerebral cortex has been observed by many researchers. Although it has been suggested that much of the anatomical substrate for such organization would be already specified at early developmental stages, before activity-dependent mechanisms could take place, it is still unclear whether gene expression in the ventricular zone (VZ) could play a role in the development of discrete functional units, such as minicolumns or columns. Cell lineage experiments using replication-incompetent retroviral vectors have shown that the progeny of a single neuroepithelial/radial glial cell in the dorsal telencephalon is organized into discrete radial clusters of sibling excitatory neurons, which have a higher propensity for developing chemical synapses with each other rather than with neighboring non-siblings. Here, we will discuss the possibility that the cell lineage of single neuroepithelial/ radial glia cells could contribute for the columnar organization of the neocortex by generating radial columns of sibling, interconnected neurons. Borrowing some concepts from the studies on cell-cell recognition and transcription factor networks, we will also touch upon the potential molecular mechanisms involved in the establishment of sibling-neuron circuits. © 2010 Costa and Hedin-Pereira.

Gutierrez R.,Duke University | Simon S.A.,Duke University | Nicolelis M.A.L.,Duke University | Nicolelis M.A.L.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2010

Animals learn which foods to ingest and which to avoid. Despite many studies, the electrophysiological correlates underlying this behavior at the gustatory-reward circuit level remain poorly understood. For this reason, we measured the simultaneous electrical activity of neuronal ensembles in the orbitofrontal cortex, insular cortex, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens while rats licked for taste cues and learned to perform a taste discrimination go/no-go task. This study revealed that rhythmic licking entrains the activity in all these brain regions, suggesting that the animal's licking acts as an "internal clock signal" against which single spikes can be synchronized. That is, as animals learned a go/no-go task, there were increases in the number of licking coherent neurons as well as synchronous spiking between neuron pairs from different brain regions. Moreover, a subpopulation of gustatory cue-selective neurons that fired in synchrony with licking exhibited a greater ability to discriminate among tastants than nonsynchronized neurons. This effect was seen in all four recorded areas and increased markedly after learning, particularly after the cue was delivered and before the animals made a movement to obtain an appetitive or aversive tastant. Overall, these results show that, throughout a large segment of the taste-reward circuit, appetitive and aversive associative learning improves spike-timing precision, suggesting that proficiency in solving a taste discrimination go/no-go task requires licking-induced neural ensemble synchronous activity. Copyright © 2010 the authors.

Zhang H.,Duke University | Lin S.-C.,Duke University | Lin S.-C.,U.S. National Institute on Aging | Nicolelis M.A.L.,Duke University | Nicolelis M.A.L.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal
Journal of Neurophysiology | Year: 2011

The medial septum-vertical limb of the diagonal band of Broca (MSvDB) is important for normal hippocampal functions and theta oscillations. Although many previous studies have focused on understanding how MSVDB neurons fire rhythmic bursts to pace hippocampal theta oscillations, a significant portion of MSVDB neurons are slow-firing and thus do not pace theta oscillations. The function of these MSVDB neurons, especially their role in modulating hippocampal activity, remains unknown. We recorded MSVDB neuronal ensembles in behaving rats, and identified a distinct physiologically homogeneous subpopulation of slow-firing neurons (overall firing < 4 Hz) that shared three features: 1) much higher firing rate during rapid eye movement sleep than during slow-wave (SW) sleep; 2) temporary activation associated with transient arousals during SW sleep; 3) brief responses (latency 15~30 ms) to auditory stimuli. Analysis of the fine temporal relationship of their spiking and theta oscillations showed that unlike the theta-pacing neurons, the firing of these "pro-arousal" neurons follows theta oscillations. However, their activity precedes short-term increases in hippocampal oscillation power in the theta and gamma range lasting for a few seconds. Together, these results suggest that these pro-arousal slow-firing MSvDB neurons may function collectively to promote hippocampal activation. © 2011 by the American Physiological Society.

Schwarz D.A.,Duke University | Lebedev M.A.,Duke University | Hanson T.L.,Duke University | Lehew G.,Duke University | And 10 more authors.
Nature Methods | Year: 2014

Advances in techniques for recording large-scale brain activity contribute to both the elucidation of neurophysiological principles and the development of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). Here we describe a neurophysiological paradigm for performing tethered and wireless large-scale recordings based on movable volumetric three-dimensional (3D) multielectrode implants. This approach allowed us to isolate up to 1,800 neurons (units) per animal and simultaneously record the extracellular activity of close to 500 cortical neurons, distributed across multiple cortical areas, in freely behaving rhesus monkeys. The method is expandable, in principle, to thousands of simultaneously recorded channels. It also allows increased recording longevity (5 consecutive years) and recording of a broad range of behaviors, such as social interactions, and BMI paradigms in freely moving primates. We propose that wireless large-scale recordings could have a profound impact on basic primate neurophysiology research while providing a framework for the development and testing of clinically relevant neuroprostheses. © 2014 Nature America, Inc.

Osan R.,Boston University | Tort A.B.L.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Tort A.B.L.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal | Amaral O.B.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

The processes of memory reconsolidation and extinction have received increasing attention in recent experimental research, as their potential clinical applications begin to be uncovered. A number of studies suggest that amnestic drugs injected after reexposure to a learning context can disrupt either of the two processes, depending on the behavioral protocol employed. Hypothesizing that reconsolidation represents updating of a memory trace in the hippocampus, while extinction represents formation of a new trace, we have built a neural network model in which either simple retrieval, reconsolidation or extinction of a stored attractor can occur upon contextual reexposure, depending on the similarity between the representations of the original learning and reexposure sessions. This is achieved by assuming that independent mechanisms mediate Hebbian-like synaptic strengthening and mismatch-driven labilization of synaptic changes, with protein synthesis inhibition preferentially affecting the former. Our framework provides a unified mechanistic explanation for experimental data showing (a) the effect of reexposure duration on the occurrence of reconsolidation or extinction and (b) the requirement of memory updating during reexposure to drive reconsolidation. © 2011 Osan et al.

Wiest M.C.,Duke University | Wiest M.C.,Wellesley College | Thomson E.,Duke University | Pantoja J.,Duke University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Neurophysiology | Year: 2010

In freely moving rats that are actively performing a discrimination task, single-unit responses in primary somatosensory cortex (S1) are strikingly different from responses to comparable tactile stimuli in immobile rats. For example, in the active discrimination context prestimulus response modulations are common, responses are longer in duration and more likely to be inhibited. To determine whether these differences emerge as rats learned a whisker-dependent discrimination task, we recorded single-unit S1 activity while rats learned to discriminate aperture-widths using their whiskers. Even before discrimination training began, S1 responses in freely moving rats showed many of the signatures of active responses, such as increased duration of response and prestimulus response modulations. As rats subsequently learned the discrimination task, single unit responses changed: more cortical units responded to the stimuli, neuronal sensory responses grew in duration, and individual neurons better predicted aperture-width. In summary, the operant behavioral context changes S1 tactile responses even in the absence of tactile discrimination, whereas subsequent width discrimination learning refines the S1 representation of aperture-width. Copyright © 2010 The American Physiological Society.

Santana M.B.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal | Santana M.B.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Halje P.,Lund University | Simplicio H.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal | And 7 more authors.
Neuron | Year: 2014

Although deep brain electrical stimulation can alleviate the motor symptoms of Parkinson disease (PD), just a small fraction of patients with PD can take advantage of this procedure due to its invasive nature. A significantly less invasive method-epidural spinal cord stimulation (SCS)-has been suggested as an alternative approach for symptomatic treatment of PD. However, the mechanisms underlying motor improvements through SCS are unknown. Here, we show that SCS reproducibly alleviates motor deficits in a primate model of PD. Simultaneous neuronal recordings from multiple structures of the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic loop in parkinsonian monkeys revealed abnormal highly synchronized neuronal activity within each of these structures and excessive functional coupling among them. SCS disrupted this pathological circuit behavior in a manner that mimics the effects caused by pharmacological dopamine replacement therapy or deep brain stimulation. These results suggest that SCS should be considered as an additional treatment option for patients with PD. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Ifft P.J.,Duke University | Shokur S.,Duke University | Shokur S.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | Li Z.,Duke University | And 3 more authors.
Science Translational Medicine | Year: 2013

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are artificial systems that aim to restore sensation and movement to paralyzed patients. So far, BMIs have enabled only one arm to be moved at a time. Control of bimanual arm movements remains a major challenge. We have developed and tested a bimanual BMI that enables rhesus monkeys to control two avatar arms simultaneously. The bimanual BMI was based on the extracellular activity of 374 to 497 neurons recorded from several frontal and parietal cortical areas of both cerebral hemispheres. Cortical activity was transformed into movements of the two arms with a decoding algorithm called a fifth-order unscented Kalman filter (UKF). The UKF was trained either during a manual task performed with two joysticks or by having the monkeys passively observe the movements of avatar arms. Most cortical neurons changed their modulation patterns when both arms were engaged simultaneously. Representing the two arms jointly in a single UKF decoder resulted in improved decoding performance compared with using separate decoders for each arm. As the animals' performance in bimanual BMI control improved over time, we observed widespread plasticity in frontal and parietal cortical areas. Neuronal representation of the avatar and reach targets was enhanced with learning, whereas pairwise correlations between neurons initially increased and then decreased. These results suggest that cortical networks may assimilate the two avatar arms through BMI control. These findings should help in the design of more sophisticated BMIs capable of enabling bimanual motor control in human patients.

Costa M.R.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal | Costa M.R.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Gotz M.,National Health Research Institute | Gotz M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 2 more authors.
Brain Research Reviews | Year: 2010

One of the most intriguing discoveries during the last decade of developmental neurobiology is the fact that both in the developing and adult nervous system neural stem cells often turn out to have a glial identity: Radial glia generates neurons in the developing telencephalon of fish, birds and mammals and astro/radial glial stem cells in specialized neurogenic zones give rise to new neurons throughout life. What are the extrinsic signals acting on and the intrinsic signals acting within these glial populations endowing these with a neurogenic potential, whilst most other glia seemingly lack it? Studies on postnatal astroglia shed interesting light on this question as they are the intermediate between neurogenic radial glia and mature parenchymal astrocytes. At least in vitro their decision to acquire a glial fate is not yet irrevocable as forced expression of a single neurogenic transcription factor enables them to transgress their lineage and to give rise to fully functional neurons acquiring specific subtype characteristics. But even bona fide non-neurogenic glia in the adult nervous system can regain some of their radial glial heritage following injury as exemplified by reactive astroglia in the cerebral cortex and Müller glia in the retina. In this review first we will follow the direction of the physiological times' arrow, along which radial glia become transformed on one side into mature astrocytes gradually losing their neurogenic potential, while some of them seem to escape this dire destiny to settle in the few neurogenic oases of the adult brain where they generate neurons and glia throughout life. But we will also see how pathophysiological conditions partially can reverse the arrow of time reactivating the parenchymal astroglia to re-acquire some of the hallmarks of neural stem cells or progenitors. We will close this review with some thoughts on the surprising compatibility of the co-existence of a neural stem cell and glial identity within the very same cell from the perspective of the concept of transcriptional core networks. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Caixeta F.V.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Caixeta F.V.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal | Cornelio A.M.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Scheffer-Teixeira R.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | And 2 more authors.
Scientific Reports | Year: 2013

Recent studies show that higher order oscillatory interactions such as cross-frequency coupling are important for brain functions that are impaired in schizophrenia, including perception, attention and memory. Here we investigated the dynamics of oscillatory coupling in the hippocampus of awake rats upon NMDA receptor blockade by ketamine, a pharmacological model of schizophrenia. Ketamine (25, 50 and 75 mg/kg i.p.) increased gamma and high-frequency oscillations (HFO) in all depths of the CA1-dentate axis, while theta power changes depended on anatomical location and were independent of a transient increase of delta oscillations. Phase coherence of gamma and HFO increased across hippocampal layers. Phase-amplitude coupling between theta and fast oscillations was markedly altered in a dose-dependent manner: ketamine increased hippocampal theta-HFO coupling at all doses, while theta-gamma coupling increased at the lowest dose and was disrupted at the highest dose. Our results demonstrate that ketamine alters network interactions that underlie cognitively relevant theta-gamma coupling.

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