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Trends in Neurosciences

Sara N Burke, Leslie S Gaynor, Carol A Barnes, Russell M Bauer, Jennifer L Bizon, Erik D Roberson, Lee Ryan
A predominant view of perirhinal cortex (PRC) and postrhinal/parahippocampal cortex (POR/PHC) function contends that these structures are tuned to represent objects and spatial information, respectively. However, known anatomical connectivity, together with recent electrophysiological, neuroimaging, and lesion data, indicate that both brain areas participate in spatial and nonspatial processing. Instead of content-based organization, the PRC and PHC/POR may participate in two computationally distinct cortical-hippocampal networks: one network that is tuned to process coarse information quickly, forming gist-like representations of scenes/environments, and a second network tuned to process information about the specific sensory details that are necessary for discrimination across sensory modalities...
March 16, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Antonella Macerollo, Matt J N Brown, James M Kilner, Robert Chen
Measurements of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), recorded using electroencephalography during different phases of movement, have been fundamental in understanding the neurophysiological changes related to motor control. SEP recordings have also been used to investigate adaptive plasticity changes in somatosensory processing related to active and observational motor learning tasks. Combining noninvasive brain stimulation with SEP recordings and intracranial SEP depth recordings, including recordings from deep brain stimulation electrodes, has been critical in identifying neural areas involved in specific temporal stages of somatosensory processing...
March 14, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Lakshmi Sundararajan, David M Miller
Two recent studies by Meltzer et al. and Ziegler et al. use Drosophila larvae to demonstrate that cell-autonomous regulation of lipid biosynthesis defines the complexity and function of highly branched nociceptive neurons. Their findings show that lipid biosynthesis in the neuron is fine-tuned for optimal dendrite morphology and sensitivity.
March 13, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
David A Gallegos, Urann Chan, Liang-Fu Chen, Anne E West
Neurons are dynamic cells that respond and adapt to stimuli throughout their long postmitotic lives. The structural and functional plasticity of neurons requires the regulated transcription of new gene products, and dysregulation of transcription in either the developing or adult brain impairs cognition. We discuss how mechanisms of chromatin regulation help to orchestrate the transcriptional programs that underlie the maturation of developing neurons and the plasticity of adult neurons. We review how chromatin regulation acts locally to modulate the expression of specific genes and more broadly to coordinate gene expression programs during transitions between cellular states...
March 9, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Jeremy M Henley, Ruth E Carmichael, Kevin A Wilkinson
Post-translational modification of substrate proteins by SUMO conjugation regulates a diverse array of cellular processes. While predominantly a nuclear protein modification, there is a growing appreciation that SUMOylation of proteins outside the nucleus plays direct roles in controlling synaptic transmission, neuronal excitability, and adaptive responses to cell stress. Furthermore, alterations in protein SUMOylation are observed in a wide range of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, and several extranuclear disease-associated proteins have been shown to be directly SUMOylated...
March 9, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Jean M Hébert, Jan Vijg
Current antiaging strategies focusing on druggable targets have met with relatively limited success to date. Replacement of cells, tissues, and organs could provide an alternative means for targeting age-induced damage and potentially eliminating some of it. However, before this is a viable option, numerous challenges need to be addressed. Most notably, whether the brain, which defines our self-identity, is amenable to replacement therapies is unclear. Here, we consider whether progressive cell replacement is a potential approach to reverse brain aging without grossly altering function...
March 8, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Roberta Ricciarelli, Ernesto Fedele
cAMP and cGMP are well established second messengers required for long-term potentiation (LTP) and memory formation/consolidation. By contrast, amyloid β (Aβ), mostly known as one of the main culprits for Alzheimer's disease (AD), has received relatively little attention in the context of plasticity and memory. Of note, however, low physiological concentrations of Aβ seem necessary for LTP induction and for memory formation. This should come as no surprise, since hormesis emerged as a central dogma in biology...
February 28, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
David Weinshenker
It has been known for decades that degeneration of the locus coeruleus (LC), the major noradrenergic nucleus in the brain, occurs in both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD), but it was given scant attention. It is now recognized that hyperphosphorylated tau in the LC is the first detectable AD-like neuropathology in the human brain, α-synuclein inclusions in the LC represent an early step in PD, and experimental LC lesions exacerbate neuropathology and cognitive/behavioral deficits in animal models...
February 20, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Michal Rivlin-Etzion, William N Grimes, Fred Rieke
The ability of the retina to adapt to changes in mean light intensity and contrast is well known. Classically, however, adaptation is thought to affect gain but not to change the visual modality encoded by a given type of retinal neuron. Recent findings reveal unexpected dynamic properties in mouse retinal neurons that challenge this view. Specifically, certain cell types change the visual modality they encode with variations in ambient illumination or following repetitive visual stimulation. These discoveries demonstrate that computations performed by retinal circuits with defined architecture can change with visual input...
February 14, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Nicholas A Lesica
Hearing loss is a widespread condition that is linked to declines in quality of life and mental health. Hearing aids remain the treatment of choice, but, unfortunately, even state-of-the-art devices provide only limited benefit for the perception of speech in noisy environments. While traditionally viewed primarily as a loss of sensitivity, hearing loss is also known to cause complex distortions of sound-evoked neural activity that cannot be corrected by amplification alone. This Opinion article describes the effects of hearing loss on neural activity to illustrate the reasons why current hearing aids are insufficient and to motivate the use of new technologies to explore directions for improving the next generation of devices...
February 12, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Adriano B L Tort, Jurij Brankačk, Andreas Draguhn
We revisit recent evidence showing that nasal respiration entrains oscillations at the same frequency as breathing in several regions of the rodent brain. Moreover, respiration modulates the amplitude of a specific gamma sub-band (70-120Hz), most prominently in frontal regions. Since rodents often breathe at delta and theta frequencies, we caution that previous studies on delta and theta power and their cross-regional synchrony, as well as on delta-gamma and theta-gamma coupling, may have detected the respiration-entrained rhythm and respiration-gamma coupling...
February 8, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Jackie Schiller, Shai Berlin, Dori Derdikman
Two recent papers have tackled the fundamental questions of how place fields are formed in a new environment and what plasticity mechanisms contribute to this process. Bittner et al., in their recent publication, discovered a novel plasticity rule that, in contrast to previous rules, spans the behavioral, seconds-long, timescale. Sheffield et al. have monitored, for the first time, dendritic activity during place field formation, and show the emergence of spatially tuned local NMDA spikes in basal dendrites of CA1 neurons...
February 1, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Oliver Braganza, Heinz Beck
Modern neuroscientific techniques that specifically manipulate and measure neuronal activity in behaving animals now allow bridging of the gap from the cellular to the behavioral level. However, in doing so, they also pose new challenges. Research using incompletely defined manipulations in a high-dimensional space without clear hypotheses is likely to suffer from multiple well-known conceptual and statistical problems. In this context it is essential to develop hypotheses with testable implications across levels...
February 1, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Gustavo Deco, Viktor K Jirsa, Anthony R McIntosh
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 6, 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Hillel Adesnik
A pair of 2009 papers by Cardin et al. and Sohal et al. marked a watershed moment as optogenetics exploded onto the scene of systems neuroscience. This pair of back-to-back papers in the June issue of Nature leveraged a powerful combination of the Cre/lox system, adeno-associated viral gene vectors, and optogenetics to re-examine the circuit basis of neuronal synchronization.
March 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Anna C Nobre, John T Serences
A brain-imaging paper by Kastner and colleagues in 1999 was the first to demonstrate that merely focusing attention at a spatial location changed the baseline activity level in various regions of human visual cortex even before any stimuli appeared. The study provided a touchstone for investigating cognitive-sensory interactions and understanding the proactive endogenous signals that shape perception.
March 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Román Rossi-Pool, José Vergara, Ranulfo Romo
A 1989 paper by Patricia Goldman-Rakic and colleagues reported that the prefrontal cortex coded the visual space during working memory. This landmark work not only offered a biological explanation for this cognitive function, but also opened up a wide field of research aimed at understanding the biological bases of various cognitive functions.
March 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Benedikt Grothe
In a series of seminal behavioral and electrophysiological experiments, Knudsen and Konishi studied the mechanisms of hearing. Their 1979 article showed how the barn owl utilizes unique anatomical features for creating a systematic internal representation of auditory space. This established the barn owl as a prime model for studying sensory systems.
March 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
George A Mashour, Anthony G Hudetz
The biological basis of consciousness is one of the most challenging and fundamental questions in 21st century science. A related pursuit aims to identify the neural correlates and causes of unconsciousness. We review current trends in the investigation of physiological, pharmacological, and pathological states of unconsciousness at the level of large-scale functional brain networks. We focus on the roles of brain connectivity, repertoire, graph-theoretical techniques, and neural dynamics in understanding the functional brain disconnections and reduced complexity that appear to characterize these states...
March 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
Daniel G Dillon, Diego A Pizzagalli
Depressed individuals typically show poor memory for positive events, potentiated memory for negative events, and impaired recollection. These phenomena are clinically important but poorly understood. Compelling links between stress and depression suggest promising candidate mechanisms. Stress can suppress hippocampal neurogenesis, inhibit dopamine neurons, and sensitize the amygdala. We argue that these phenomena may impair pattern separation, disrupt the encoding of positive experiences, and bias retrieval toward negative events, respectively, thus recapitulating core aspects of memory disruption in depression...
March 2018: Trends in Neurosciences
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