Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal ELS IINN

Natal, Brazil

Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal ELS IINN

Natal, Brazil
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Hartmann K.,Duke University | Hartmann K.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Thomson E.E.,Duke University | Zea I.,Duke University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2016

Can the adult brain assimilate a novel, topographically organized, sensory modality into its perceptual repertoire? To test this, we implemented a microstimulation-based neuroprosthesis that rats used to discriminate among infrared (IR) light sources. This system continuously relayed information from four IR sensors that were distributed to provide a panoramic view of IR sources, into primary somatosensory cortex (S1). Rats learned to discriminate the location of IR sources in <4 d. Animals in which IR information was delivered in spatial register with whisker topography learned the task more quickly. Further, in animals that had learned to use the prosthesis, altering the topographic mapping from IR sensor to stimulating electrode had immediate deleterious effects on discrimination performance. Multielectrode recordings revealed that S1 neurons had multimodal (tactile/IR) receptive fields, with clear preferences for those stimuli most likely to be delivered during the task. Neuronal populations predicted, with high accuracy, which stimulation pattern was present in small (75 ms) time windows. Surprisingly, when identical microstimulation patterns were delivered during an unrelated task, cortical activity in S1 was strongly suppressed. Overall, these results show that the adult mammalian neocortex can readily absorb completely new information sources into its representational repertoire, and use this information in the production of adaptive behaviors. © 2016 the authors.

Fuentes R.,Duke University | Petersson P.,Lund University | Nicolelis M.A.L.,Duke University | Nicolelis M.A.L.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal ELS IINN
European Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2010

Specific motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) can be treated effectively with direct electrical stimulation of deep nuclei in the brain. However, this is an invasive procedure, and the fraction of eligible patients is rather low according to currently used criteria. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS), a minimally invasive method, has more recently been proposed as a therapeutic approach to alleviate PD akinesia, in light of its proven ability to rescue locomotion in rodent models of PD. The mechanisms accounting for this effect are unknown but, from accumulated experience with the use of SCS in the management of chronic pain, it is known that the pathways most probably activated by SCS are the superficial fibers of the dorsal columns. We suggest that the prokinetic effect of SCS results from direct activation of ascending pathways reaching thalamic nuclei and the cerebral cortex. The afferent stimulation may, in addition, activate brainstem nuclei, contributing to the initiation of locomotion. On the basis of the striking change in the corticostriatal oscillatory mode of neuronal activity induced by SCS, we propose that, through activation of lemniscal and brainstem pathways, the locomotive increase is achieved by disruption of antikinetic low-frequency (<30 Hz) oscillatory synchronization in the corticobasal ganglia circuits.© 2010 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2010 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Dzirasa K.,Duke University | Fuentes R.,Duke University | Fuentes R.,Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal ELS IINN | Kumar S.,Duke University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience Methods | Year: 2011

While genetically modified mice have become a widely accepted tool for modeling the influence of gene function on the manifestation of neurological and psychiatric endophenotypes, only modest headway has been made in characterizing the functional circuit changes that underlie the disruption of complex behavioral processes in various models. This challenge partially arises from the fact that even simple behaviors require the coordination of many neural circuits vastly distributed across multiple brain areas. As such, many independent neurophysiological alterations are likely to yield overlapping circuit disruptions and ultimately lead to the manifestation of similar behavioral deficits. Here we describe the expansion of our neurophysiological recording approach in an effort to quantify neurophysiological activity across many large scale brain circuits simultaneously in freely behaving genetically modified mice. Using this expanded approach we were able to isolate up to 70 single neurons and record local field potential (LFP) activity simultaneously across 11 brain areas. Moreover, we found that these neurophysiological signals remained viable up to 16 months after implantation. Thus, our approach provides a powerful tool that will aid in dissecting the central brain network changes that underlie the complex behavioral deficits displayed by various genetically modified mice. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Sato J.R.,Federal University of São Paulo | Sato J.R.,University of Sao Paulo | Rondinoni C.,Neuroimago | Sturzbecher M.,Neuroimago | And 5 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2010

Simultaneous acquisition of electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) aims to disentangle the description of brain processes by exploiting the advantages of each technique. Most studies in this field focus on exploring the relationships between fMRI signals and the power spectrum at some specific frequency bands (alpha, beta, etc.). On the other hand, brain mapping of EEG signals (e.g., interictal spikes in epileptic patients) usually assumes an haemodynamic response function for a parametric analysis applying the GLM, as a rough approximation. The integration of the information provided by the high spatial resolution of MR images and the high temporal resolution of EEG may be improved by referencing them by transfer functions, which allows the identification of neural driven areas without strong assumptions about haemodynamic response shapes or brain haemodynamic's homogeneity. The difference on sampling rate is the first obstacle for a full integration of EEG and fMRI information. Moreover, a parametric specification of a function representing the commonalities of both signals is not established. In this study, we introduce a new data-driven method for estimating the transfer function from EEG signal to fMRI signal at EEG sampling rate. This approach avoids EEG subsampling to fMRI time resolution and naturally provides a test for EEG predictive power over BOLD signal fluctuations, in a well-established statistical framework. We illustrate this concept in resting state (eyes closed) and visual simultaneous fMRI-EEG experiments. The results point out that it is possible to predict the BOLD fluctuations in occipital cortex by using EEG measurements. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Ribeiro T.L.,Federal University of Pernambuco | Copelli M.,Federal University of Pernambuco | Copelli M.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Caixeta F.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Scale-invariant neuronal avalanches have been observed in cell cultures and slices as well as anesthetized and awake brains, suggesting that the brain operates near criticality, i.e. within a narrow margin between avalanche propagation and extinction. In theory, criticality provides many desirable features for the behaving brain, optimizing computational capabilities, information transmission, sensitivity to sensory stimuli and size of memory repertoires. However, a thorough characterization of neuronal avalanches in freely-behaving (FB) animals is still missing, thus raising doubts about their relevance for brain function. Methodology/Principal Findings: To address this issue, we employed chronically implanted multielectrode arrays (MEA) to record avalanches of action potentials (spikes) from the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of 14 rats, as they spontaneously traversed the wake-sleep cycle, explored novel objects or were subjected to anesthesia (AN). We then modeled spike avalanches to evaluate the impact of sparse MEA sampling on their statistics. We found that the size distribution of spike avalanches are well fit by lognormal distributions in FB animals, and by truncated power laws in the AN group. FB data surrogation markedly decreases the tail of the distribution, i.e. spike shuffling destroys the largest avalanches. The FB data are also characterized by multiple key features compatible with criticality in the temporal domain, such as 1/f spectra and long-term correlations as measured by detrended fluctuation analysis. These signatures are very stable across waking, slowwave sleep and rapid-eye-movement sleep, but collapse during anesthesia. Likewise, waiting time distributions obey a single scaling function during all natural behavioral states, but not during anesthesia. Results are equivalent for neuronal ensembles recorded from visual and tactile areas of the cerebral cortex, as well as the hippocampus. Conclusions/Significance: Altogether, the data provide a comprehensive link between behavior and brain criticality, revealing a unique scale-invariant regime of spike avalanches across all major behaviors. © 2010 Ribeiro et al.

De Araujo D.B.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | De Araujo D.B.,Onofre Lopes University Hospital | De Araujo D.B.,University of Sao Paulo | Ribeiro S.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | And 9 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2012

The hallucinogenic brew Ayahuasca, a rich source of serotonergic agonists and reuptake inhibitors, has been used for ages by Amazonian populations during religious ceremonies. Among all perceptual changes induced by Ayahuasca, the most remarkable are vivid "seeings." During such seeings, users report potent imagery. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging during a closed-eyes imagery task, we found that Ayahuasca produces a robust increase in the activation of several occipital, temporal, and frontal areas. In the primary visual area, the effect was comparable in magnitude to the activation levels of natural image with the eyes open. Importantly, this effect was specifically correlated with the occurrence of individual perceptual changes measured by psychiatric scales. The activity of cortical areas BA30 and BA37, known to be involved with episodic memory and the processing of contextual associations, was also potentiated by Ayahuasca intake during imagery. Finally, we detected a positive modulation by Ayahuasca of BA 10, a frontal area involved with intentional prospective imagination, working memory and the processing of information from internal sources. Therefore, our results indicate that Ayahuasca seeings stem from the activation of an extensive network generally involved with vision, memory, and intention. By boosting the intensity of recalled images to the same level of natural image, Ayahuasca lends a status of reality to inner experiences. It is therefore understandable why Ayahuasca was culturally selected over many centuries by rain forest shamans to facilitate mystical revelations of visual nature. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Calais J.B.,University of Sao Paulo | Calais J.B.,Hospital Sirio Libanes | Ojopi E.B.,University of Sao Paulo | Morya E.,Hospital Sirio Libanes | And 4 more authors.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory | Year: 2015

Sleep is beneficial to learning, but the underlying mechanisms remain controversial. The synaptic homeostasis hypothesis (SHY) proposes that the cognitive function of sleep is related to a generalized rescaling of synaptic weights to intermediate levels, due to a passive downregulation of plasticity mechanisms. A competing hypothesis proposes that the active upscaling and downscaling of synaptic weights during sleep embosses memories in circuits respectively activated or deactivated during prior waking experience, leading to memory changes beyond rescaling. Both theories have empirical support but the experimental designs underlying the conflicting studies are not congruent, therefore a consensus is yet to be reached. To advance this issue, we used real-time PCR and electrophysiological recordings to assess gene expression related to synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and primary somatosensory cortex of rats exposed to novel objects, then kept awake (WK) for 60. min and finally killed after a 30. min period rich in WK, slow-wave sleep (SWS) or rapid-eye-movement sleep (REM). Animals similarly treated but not exposed to novel objects were used as controls. We found that the mRNA levels of Arc, Egr1, Fos, Ppp2ca and Ppp2r2d were significantly increased in the hippocampus of exposed animals allowed to enter REM, in comparison with control animals. Experience-dependent changes during sleep were not significant in the hippocampus for Bdnf, Camk4, Creb1, and Nr4a1, and no differences were detected between exposed and control SWS groups for any of the genes tested. No significant changes in gene expression were detected in the primary somatosensory cortex during sleep, in contrast with previous studies using longer post-stimulation intervals (>180. min). The experience-dependent induction of multiple plasticity-related genes in the hippocampus during early REM adds experimental support to the synaptic embossing theory. © 2015 The Authors.

Calais J.B.,University of Sao Paulo | Valvassori S.S.,National University of Santa | Resende W.R.,National University of Santa | Feier G.,National University of Santa | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Neural Transmission | Year: 2013

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a well-established psychiatric treatment for severe depression. Despite its clinical utility, post-ECT memory deficits are a common side effect. Neuronal plasticity and memory consolidation are intimately related to the expression of immediate early genes (IEG), such as Egr1, Fos and Arc. Changes in IEG activation have been postulated to underlie long-term neuronal adaptations following electroconvulsive seizures (ECS), an animal model of ECT. To test this hypothesis, we used real-time PCR to examine the effect of acute and chronic ECS (8 sessions, one every other day) on the long-term (>24 h) expression of IEG Egr1, Fos and Arc in the hippocampus, a brain region implicated both in the pathophysiology of depression as well as in memory function. We observed a transient increase in Egr1 and Fos expression immediately after ECS, followed by a long-term decrease of IEG levels after both acute and chronic ECS. A separate group of animals, submitted to the same chronic ECS protocol and then subjected to open field or passive avoidance tasks, confirmed robust memory deficits 2 weeks after the last chronic ECS. The possible role of IEG downregulation on long-term learning deficits observed following ECS are discussed. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Del-Ben C.M.,University of Sao Paulo | Ferreira C.A.Q.,University of Sao Paulo | Sanchez T.A.,University of Sao Paulo | Alves-Neto W.C.,University of Sao Paulo | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Psychopharmacology | Year: 2012

This study aimed to measure, using fMRI, the effect of diazepam on the haemodynamic response to emotional faces. Twelve healthy male volunteers (mean age = 24.83 ± 3.16 years), were evaluated in a randomized, balanced-order, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design. Diazepam (10 mg) or placebo was given 1 h before the neuroimaging acquisition. In a blocked design covert face emotional task, subjects were presented with neutral (A) and aversive (B) (angry or fearful) faces. Participants were also submitted to an explicit emotional face recognition task, and subjective anxiety was evaluated throughout the procedures. Diazepam attenuated the activation of right amygdala and right orbitofrontal cortex and enhanced the activation of right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to fearful faces. In contrast, diazepam enhanced the activation of posterior left insula and attenuated the activation of bilateral ACC to angry faces. In the behavioural task, diazepam impaired the recognition of fear in female faces. Under the action of diazepam, volunteers were less anxious at the end of the experimental session. These results suggest that benzodiazepines can differentially modulate brain activation to aversive stimuli, depending on the stimulus features and indicate a role of amygdala and insula in the anxiolytic action of benzodiazepines. © The Author(s) 2012.

Franca A.S.C.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Lobao-Soares B.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Muratori L.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | Nascimento G.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte | And 5 more authors.
European Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2015

Dopamine and sleep have been independently linked with hippocampus-dependent learning. Since D2 dopaminergic transmission is required for the occurrence of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, it is possible that dopamine affects learning by way of changes in post-acquisition REM sleep. To investigate this hypothesis, we first assessed whether D2 dopaminergic modulation in mice affects novel object preference, a hippocampus-dependent task. Animals trained in the dark period, when sleep is reduced, did not improve significantly in performance when tested 24h after training. In contrast, animals trained in the sleep-rich light period showed significant learning after 24h. When injected with the D2 inverse agonist haloperidol immediately after the exploration of novel objects, animals trained in the light period showed reduced novelty preference upon retesting 24h later. Next we investigated whether haloperidol affected the protein levels of plasticity factors shown to be up-regulated in an experience-dependent manner during REM sleep. Haloperidol decreased post-exploration hippocampal protein levels at 3h, 6h and 12h for phosphorylated Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, at 6h for Zif-268; and at 12h for the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Electrophysiological and kinematic recordings showed a significant decrease in the amount of REM sleep following haloperidol injection, while slow-wave sleep remained unaltered. Importantly, REM sleep decrease across animals was strongly correlated with deficits in novelty preference (Rho=0.56, p=0.012). Altogether, the results suggest that the dopaminergic regulation of REM sleep affects learning by modulating post-training levels of calcium-dependent plasticity factors. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP.

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