Navigation Links
Max Planck Florida Institute scientists create first realistic 3D reconstruction of a brain circuit
Date:12/7/2011

Jupiter, FL -- Researchers from the lab of Nobel laureate Bert Sakmann, MD, PhD at the Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI) are reporting that, using a conceptually new approach and state-of-the-art research tools, they have created the first realistic three-dimensional diagram of a thalamocortical column in the rodent brain. A vertically organized series of connected neurons that form a brain circuit, the cortical column is considered the elementary building block of the cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for many of its higher functions.

This achievement is the first step toward creating a complete computer model of the brain, and may ultimately lead to an understanding of how the brain computes and how it goes awry in neurological, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. The study is published online in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

"This is the first complete 3D reconstruction of a realistic model of a cortical column," said Marcel Oberlaender, PhD, first author on the paper. "This is the first time that we have been able to relate the structure and function of individual neurons in a live, awake animal, using complete 3D reconstructions of axons and dendrites. By creating this model, we hope to begin understanding how the brain processes sensory information and how this leads to specific behaviors."

The electrically excitable axon extends from the body of the neuron (brain cell) and often gives rise to many smaller branches before ending at nerve terminals. Dendrites extend from the neuron cell body and receive messages from other neurons.

In addition to recreating the structure of the cortical column, the study also sheds significant light on the function of its constituent neurons, and the relationship between their functionality and structure. In looking at neurons' response to sensory stimulation, the researchers discovered that sensory-evoked activity in some of the cells can be directly correlated with their structure and connectivity, which marks a first step toward understanding basic organizational principles of the brain.

Working with both awake and anesthetized rats, and also examining stained brain slices, the neuroscientists used sophisticated new light microscopy as well as custom designed tools to examine 15,000 neurons of nine identified cell types. Using a painstaking, six-step process, the researchers identified and reconstructed the column's constituent parts using sophisticated software and a range of other new state-of-the-art tools and processes.

Described in a related paper co-authored by Drs. Sakmann and Oberlaender, these new methods, which were developed in part at the Max Planck Florida Institute, allow researchers, for the first time, to simulate electrical signaling in a computer model at subcellular and millisecond resolution.

"We can now quantify the number of neurons of each cell type, their three-dimensional structure, connectivity within these networks, and response to sensory stimulation, in both an anesthetized and awake animal," said Dr. Oberlaender. "Such a quantitative assessment of cortical structure and function is unprecedented and marks a milestone for future studies on mechanistic principles that may underlie signal flow in the brain, during such functions as decision making."


'/>"/>
Contact: Dennis Tartaglia
dtartaglia@tartagliacommunications.com
732-545-1848
Tartaglia Communications
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Max Planck Innovation awards license for actin marker LifeAct
2. RIKEN and Max Planck Society establish Joint Research Center for Systems Chemical Biology
3. New studies find global warming will have significant economic impacts on Florida coasts
4. Floridas worm grunters collect bait worms by inadvertently imitating mole sounds
5. Scripps Florida scientists awarded $1.5M to fight major water and food parasites
6. Acoustical Meeting, Nov. 10-14, 2008 in Miami, Florida
7. Florida professor creates endowment for insect scientists
8. Holy guacamole: invasive beetle threatens Floridas avocados
9. Historical photographs expose decline in Floridas reef fish, new Scripps study finds
10. Little Salt Spring underwater archeological site in Florida receives new funding
11. New York, Florida schools win awards at national student competition
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... ALBANY, New York , April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... highly competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by ... in the market is however held by five major ... and Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% ... majority of the leading companies in the global military ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 24, 2017 , ... ... treasurer for the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA). ... The HBA Mid-Atlantic chapter board meets in person once each quarter and holds ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Federal funding for basic and applied scientific research ... medical and other vital technologies — deserves continued support, say leaders of SPIE, ... community today in responding to the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018. , ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Toronto, Canada (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 ... ... of Firmex FileSend, a cloud-based file transfer solution that makes it easy for ... firewall without having to worry about cumbersome FTP software or email file size ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Genedata, a leading ... marking the occasion with a strong presence at Bio-IT World Conference & Expo ... extends an invitation to all attendees to view posters on the entire ...
Breaking Biology Technology: