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Rich-Club Organization in Effective Connectivity among Cortical Neurons.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience (2016-01-23)
Sunny Nigam, Masanori Shimono, Shinya Ito, Fang-Chin Yeh, Nicholas Timme, Maxym Myroshnychenko, Christopher C Lapish, Zachary Tosi, Pawel Hottowy, Wesley C Smith, Sotiris C Masmanidis, Alan M Litke, Olaf Sporns, John M Beggs

The performance of complex networks, like the brain, depends on how effectively their elements communicate. Despite the importance of communication, it is virtually unknown how information is transferred in local cortical networks, consisting of hundreds of closely spaced neurons. To address this, it is important to record simultaneously from hundreds of neurons at a spacing that matches typical axonal connection distances, and at a temporal resolution that matches synaptic delays. We used a 512-electrode array (60 μm spacing) to record spontaneous activity at 20 kHz from up to 500 neurons simultaneously in slice cultures of mouse somatosensory cortex for 1 h at a time. We applied a previously validated version of transfer entropy to quantify information transfer. Similar to in vivo reports, we found an approximately lognormal distribution of firing rates. Pairwise information transfer strengths also were nearly lognormally distributed, similar to reports of synaptic strengths. Some neurons transferred and received much more information than others, which is consistent with previous predictions. Neurons with the highest outgoing and incoming information transfer were more strongly connected to each other than chance, thus forming a "rich club." We found similar results in networks recorded in vivo from rodent cortex, suggesting the generality of these findings. A rich-club structure has been found previously in large-scale human brain networks and is thought to facilitate communication between cortical regions. The discovery of a small, but information-rich, subset of neurons within cortical regions suggests that this population will play a vital role in communication, learning, and memory. Significance statement: Many studies have focused on communication networks between cortical brain regions. In contrast, very few studies have examined communication networks within a cortical region. This is the first study to combine such a large number of neurons (several hundred at a time) with such high temporal resolution (so we can know the direction of communication between neurons) for mapping networks within cortex. We found that information was not transferred equally through all neurons. Instead, ∼70% of the information passed through only 20% of the neurons. Network models suggest that this highly concentrated pattern of information transfer would be both efficient and robust to damage. Therefore, this work may help in understanding how the cortex processes information and responds to neurodegenerative diseases.

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Horse Serum, Donor herd, USA origin, sterile-filtered, suitable for cell culture, suitable for hybridoma
Hanks′ Balanced Salt solution, Modified, with sodium bicarbonate, without calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate, liquid, sterile-filtered, suitable for cell culture
Penicillin − Streptomycin − Neomycin Solution Stabilized, formulated to contain ~5,000 units penicillin, 5 mg streptomycin and 10 mg neomycin/mL, 0.1 μm filtered, BioReagent, suitable for cell culture