Navigation Links
Pitt team recreates brain cell networks with new view of activity behind memory formation
Date:5/25/2011

PITTSBURGHUniversity of Pittsburgh researchers have reproduced the brain's complex electrical impulses onto models made of living brain cells that provide an unprecedented view of the neuron activity behind memory formation.

The team fashioned ring-shaped networks of brain cells that were not only capable of transmitting an electrical impulse, but also remained in a state of persistent activity associated with memory formation, said lead researcher Henry Zeringue [zuh-rang], a bioengineering professor in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering. Magnetic resonance images have suggested that working memories are formed when the cortex, or outer layer of the brain, launches into extended electrical activity after the initial stimulus, Zeringue explained. But the brain's complex structure and the diminutive scale of neural networks mean that observing this activity in real time can be nearly impossible, he added.

The Pitt team, however, was able to generate and prolong this excited state in groups of 40 to 60 brain cells harvested from the hippocampus of ratsthe part of the brain associated with memory formation. In addition, the researchers produced the networks on glass slides that allowed them to observe the cells' interplay. The work was conducted in Zeringue's lab by Pitt bioengineering doctoral student Ashwin Vishwanathan, who most recently reported the work in the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) journal, Lab on a Chip. Vishwanathan coauthored the paper with Zeringue and Guo-Qiang Bi, a neurobiology professor in Pitt's School of Medicine. The work was conducted through the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, which is jointly operated by Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University.

To produce the models, the Pitt team stamped adhesive proteins onto silicon discs. Once the proteins were cultured and dried, cultured hippocampus cells from embryonic rats were fused to the proteins and then given time to grow and connect to form a natural network. The researchers disabled the cells' inhibitory response and then excited the neurons with an electrical pulse.

Zeringue and his colleagues were able to sustain the resulting burst of network activity for up to what in neuronal time is 12 long seconds. Compared to the natural duration of .25 seconds at most, the model's 12 seconds permitted an extensive observation of how the neurons transmitted and held the electrical charge, Zeringue said.

Unraveling the mechanics of this network communication is key to understanding the cellular and molecular basis of memory creation, Zeringue said. The format developed at Pitt makes neural networks more accessible for experimentation. For instance, the team found that when activity in one neuron is suppressed, the others respond with greater excitement.

"We can look at neurons as individuals, but that doesn't reveal a lot," Zeringue said. "Neurons are more connected and interdependent than any other cell in the body. Just because we know how one neuron reacts to something, a whole network can react not only differently, but sometimes in the complete opposite manner predicted."

Zeringue will next work to understand the underlying factors that govern network communication and stimulation, such as the various electrical pathways between cells and the genetic makeup of individual cells.


'/>"/>

Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. CCNY-led interdisciplinary team recreates colonial hydrology
2. Penn biophysicists create new model for protein-cholesterol interactions in brain and muscle tissue
3. During exercise, the human brain shifts into high gear on alternative energy
4. Millisecond brain signals predict response to fast-acting antidepressant
5. Food for thought -- regulating energy supply to the brain during fasting
6. Risk and reward compete in brain
7. Brainy genes, not brawn, key to success on mussel beach
8. Brain-nourishing molecule may predict schizophrenia relapse
9. Brain structure provides key to unraveling function of bizarre dinosaur crests
10. MU brain imaging center provides research for autism, schizophrenia and Parkinsons disease
11. Key to function of dinosaur crests found in brain structure
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pitt team recreates brain cell networks with new view of activity behind memory formation
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer ... Are you interested in the future of ... checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to ... national level. Avoid falling behind in data ... and revenues those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016  Based on ... Frost & Sullivan recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging ... & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation. IRIS, ... North America , is poised ... rapidly growing diabetic retinopathy market. The IRIS technology ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... Feb. 1, 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces the ... Joey Fatone . Las Vegas , where ... --> Las Vegas , where Joey appeared at ... The new video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES2016) ... Wocket booth to meet and greet fans. --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... , February 4, 2016 --> ... biotechnology acceleration company is pleased to provide the following update ... --> Over the last 3 months we have significantly ... purchase agreements exceeding $1,000,000. As a result, we have positioned ... Research Inc. license agreement and expect that development to continue ...
(Date:2/4/2016)...  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) -- an intellectual property ... intellectual property, today provided an update on the Company,s ... of Texas and announcing that ... Partes Re-examination ("IPR") proceedings that VTech and Uniden ... initiated on only certain claims of two of the ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... of Semantic Graph Database technology has been recognized As “ Best in Semantic ... America Magazine. , “At Corporate America, it’s our priority to showcase prominent professionals ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... February 04, 2016 , ... Many ... for over 10 years. What sets them apart from other cuvette manufacturers ... is posted on their website. On top of this steady flow of inside ...
Breaking Biology Technology: