Research provides unprecedented insights into the complexity of large-scale neural networks

Those experiences that leave traces in brain connectivity have long been known, but a pioneering study by researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Technology TUD Dresden now shows just how massive these impacts really are. The findings in mice provide unprecedented insights into the complexity of large-scale neural networks and brain flexibility. Furthermore, they could pave the way for new brain-inspired artificial intelligence methods. The results, based on innovative «brain-on-chip» technology, are published in a scientific journal Biosensors and bioelectronics.

Researchers in Dresden explored the question of how an enriching experience affects brain circuits. For this, they deployed a so-called neurochip with more than 4,000 electrodes to detect the electrical activity of brain cells. This innovative platform allows registration to «fire» thousands of neurons at once. The area examined – much smaller than the size of a human fingernail – covered the entire rat’s hippocampus. This brain structure, shared by humans, plays a pivotal role in learning and memory, making it a prime target for the ravages of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. For their study, the scientists compared brain tissue from mice that were raised differently. While one group of rodents grew up in standard cages, which did not provide any special stimulation, others were kept in «enriched environments» that included rearrangeable toys and tubes. plastic like maze.

Dr Hayder Amin, lead scientist on the study, said: “The results far exceeded our expectations. Amin, an expert in neuroscience and neuroelectronics, heads a research team at DZNE. Together with his team, he developed the technology and analytical tools used in this study. «Simply put, one could say that the neurons of mice from rich environments are more interconnected than those of mice raised in standard environments. Regardless of them By what parameters, literally richer experiences drive connections in neural networks.These findings suggest that leading an active and varied life shapes the brain. on entirely new bases.»

Unprecedented insight into brain networks

Professor Gerd Kempermann, who co-led the study and is working on the question of how physical and cognitive activity helps the brain develop resistance to aging and neurodegenerative disease, attests: «All What we know in the field so far has been obtained from studies with single electrodes or from imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging. this is much coarser than our method.Here we can actually see the circuit in action at the scale of single cells.we have applied advanced computational tools to extracted a large amount of detailed information about the dynamics of the network in space and time from our records.»

«We’ve discovered a wealth of data illustrating the benefits of a brain shaped by rich experience. This paves the way for understanding the role of flexibility and reserve formation in fighting resistance. against neurodegenerative diseases, especially for new prevention strategies,» said Professor Kempermann, who, in addition to being a DZNE researcher, is affiliated with the Dresden Center for Regenerative Therapies ( CRTD) at TU Dresden. «In addition, this will help provide insights into disease processes associated with neurodegeneration, such as dysfunction of brain networks.»

The potential of brain-inspired artificial intelligence

«By unraveling how experiences shape brain connectivity and dynamics, we’re not just pushing the boundaries of brain research,» said Dr Amin. «Artificial intelligence is inspired by the way the brain computes information. Therefore, our tools and the insights they allow to generate could pave the way for new machine learning algorithms. .»


DZNE – German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Reference magazine:

Emery, Bachelor, et al. (2023) High-resolution CMOS-based biosensor for evaluating hippocampal circuit dynamics at experience-dependent plasticity. Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

#Research #unprecedented #insights #complexity #largescale #neural #networks

Deja un comentario