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Neural plasticity

Kimberly S Chiew, Jordan Hashemi, Lee K Gans, Laura Lerebours, Nathaniel J Clement, Mai-Anh T Vu, Guillermo Sapiro, Nicole E Heller, R Alison Adcock
Volitional exploration and learning are key to adaptive behavior, yet their characterization remains a complex problem for cognitive science. Exploration has been posited as a mechanism by which motivation promotes memory, but this relationship is not well-understood, in part because novel stimuli that motivate exploration also reliably elicit changes in neuromodulatory brain systems that directly alter memory formation, via effects on neural plasticity. To deconfound interrelationships between motivation, exploration, and memory formation we manipulated motivational state prior to entering a spatial context, measured exploratory responses to the context and novel stimuli within it, and then examined motivation and exploration as predictors of memory outcomes...
2018: PloS One
Ashley C Nelson, Stephanie B Williams, Stephanie S Pistorius, Hyun J Park, Taylor J Woodward, Andrew J Payne, J Daniel Obray, Samuel I Shin, Jennifer K Mabey, Scott C Steffensen
The neural mechanisms underlying alcohol dependence are not well-understood. GABAergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are a relevant target for ethanol. They are inhibited by ethanol at physiologically-relevant levels in vivo and display marked hyperexcitability during withdrawal. In the present study, we examined the effects of the GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol on VTA neurons ex vivo following withdrawal from acute and chronic ethanol exposure. We used standard cell-attached mode electrophysiology in the slice preparation to evaluate the effects of muscimol on VTA GABA neuron firing rate following exposure to acute and chronic ethanol in male CD-1 GAD-67 GFP mice...
2018: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Robert A Hill, Alice M Li, Jaime Grutzendler
Axonal myelin increases neural processing speed and efficiency. It is unknown whether patterns of myelin distribution are fixed or whether myelinating oligodendrocytes are continually generated in adulthood and maintain the capacity for structural remodeling. Using high-resolution, intravital label-free and fluorescence optical imaging in mouse cortex, we demonstrate lifelong oligodendrocyte generation occurring in parallel with structural plasticity of individual myelin internodes. Continuous internode formation occurred on both partially myelinated and unmyelinated axons, and the total myelin coverage along individual axons progressed up to two years of age...
March 19, 2018: Nature Neuroscience
Daniel M Vahaba, Luke Remage-Healey
Steroid hormones, such as estrogens, were once thought to be exclusively synthesized in the ovaries and enact transcriptional changes over the course of hours to days. However, estrogens are also locally synthesized within neural circuits, wherein they rapidly (within minutes) modulate a range of behaviors, including spatial cognition and communication. Here, we review the role of brain-derived estrogens (neuroestrogens) as modulators within sensory circuits in songbirds. We first present songbirds as an attractive model to explore how neuroestrogens in auditory cortex modulate vocal communication processing and learning...
March 16, 2018: Hormones and Behavior
Xiaodong Li, Hiroshi Ishimoto, Azusa Kamikouchi
In birds and higher mammals, auditory experience during development is critical to discriminate sound patterns in adulthood. However, the neural and molecular nature of this acquired ability remains elusive. In fruit flies, acoustic perception has been thought to be innate. Here we report, surprisingly, that auditory experience of a species-specific courtship song in developing Drosophila shapes adult song perception and resultant sexual behavior. Preferences in the song-response behaviors of both males and females were tuned by social acoustic exposure during development...
March 20, 2018: ELife
Magdalini Tsintou, Kyriakos Dalamagkas, Alexander Seifalian
Central Nervous System (CNS) repair has been a challenge, due to limited CNS tissue regenerative capacity. The emerging tools that neural engineering has to offer have opened new pathways towards the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches for CNS disorders. Collagen has been a preferable material for neural tissue engineering due to its similarity to the extracellular matrix, its biocompatibility, and antigenicity. The aim was to compare properties of a plastically compressed collagen hydrogel with the ones of a promising collagen-genipin injectable hydrogel and a collagen-only hydrogel for clinical CNS therapy applications...
2018: International Journal of Biomaterials
Dexter R F Irvine
Perceptual learning, improvement in discriminative ability as a consequence of training, is one of the forms of sensory system plasticity that has driven profound changes in our conceptualization of sensory cortical function. Psychophysical and neurophysiological studies of auditory perceptual learning have indicated that the characteristics of the learning, and by implication the nature of the underlying neural changes, are highly task specific. Some studies in animals have indicated that recruitment of neurons to the population responding to the training stimuli, and hence an increase in the so-called cortical "area of representation" of those stimuli, is the substrate of improved performance, but such changes have not been observed in other studies...
March 12, 2018: Hearing Research
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
Abril Ortiz-Matamoros, Clorinda Arias
Wnt signaling plays an important role in the adult brain function and its dysregulation has been implicated in some neurodegenerative pathways. Despite the functional role of the Wnt signaling in adult neural circuits, there is currently no evidence regarding the relationships between exogenously Wnt signaling activation or inhibition and hippocampal structural changes in vivo. Thus, we analyzed the effect of the chronic infusion of Wnt agonists, Wnt7a and Wnt5a, and antagonist, Dkk-1, on different markers of plasticity such as neuronal MAP-2, Tau, synapse number and morphology, and behavioral changes...
March 13, 2018: Brain Research Bulletin
V Reggie Edgerton, Parag Gad
What are the implications of the vagus nerve being able to mediate the time-dependent plasticity of an array of sensorimotor networks?
March 16, 2018: ELife
Jean-Nicolas Audet, Lima Kayello, Simon Ducatez, Sara Perillo, Laure Cauchard, Jason T Howard, Lauren A O'Connell, Erich D Jarvis, Louis Lefebvre
Problem solving and innovation are key components of intelligence. We compare wild-caught individuals from two species that are close relatives of Darwin's finches, the innovative Loxigilla barbadensis , and its most closely related species in Barbados, the conservative Tiaris bicolor . We found an all-or-none difference in the problem-solving capacity of the two species. Brain RNA sequencing analyses revealed interspecific differences in genes related to neuronal and synaptic plasticity in the intrapallial neural populations (mesopallium and nidopallium), especially in the nidopallium caudolaterale, a structure functionally analogous to the mammalian prefrontal cortex...
March 2018: Science Advances
Guang-Zhe Huang, Mutsuo Taniguchi, Ye-Bo Zhou, Jing-Ji Zhang, Fumino Okutani, Yoshihiro Murata, Masahiro Yamaguchi, Hideto Kaba
The formation of mate recognition memory in mice is associated with neural changes at the reciprocal dendrodendritic synapses between glutamatergic mitral cell (MC) projection neurons and GABAergic granule cell (GC) interneurons in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). Although noradrenaline (NA) plays a critical role in the formation of the memory, the mechanism by which it exerts this effect remains unclear. Here we used extracellular field potential and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings to assess the actions of bath-applied NA (10 µM) on the glutamatergic transmission and its plasticity at the MC-to-GC synapse in the AOB...
April 2018: Learning & Memory
Bin Li, Yaqing Liu, Changjin Wan, Zhiyuan Liu, Ming Wang, Dianpeng Qi, Jiancan Yu, Pingqiang Cai, Meng Xiao, Yi Zeng, Xiaodong Chen
Memristive synapses based on resistive switching are promising electronic devices that emulate the synaptic plasticity in neural systems. Short-term plasticity (STP), reflecting a temporal strengthening of the synaptic connection, allows artificial synapses to perform critical computational functions, such as fast response and information filtering. To mediate this fundamental property in memristive electronic devices, the regulation of the dynamic resistive change is necessary for an artificial synapse. Here, it is demonstrated that the orientation of mesopores in the dielectric silica layer can be used to modulate the STP of an artificial memristive synapse...
March 15, 2018: Advanced Materials
Tao Tan, Wei Wang, Haitao Xu, Zhilin Huang, Yu Tian Wang, Zhifang Dong
Patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display abnormalities in neuronal development, synaptic function and neural circuits. The imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory (E/I) synaptic transmission has been proposed to cause the main behavioral characteristics of ASD. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) can directly or indirectly induce excitability and synaptic plasticity changes in the brain noninvasively. However, whether rTMS can ameliorate autistic-like behaviors in animal model via regulating the balance of E/I synaptic transmission is unknown...
2018: Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Per F Nordmark, Christina Ljungberg, Roland S Johansson
Transection of the median nerve typically causes lifelong restriction of fine sensory and motor skills of the affected hand despite the best available surgical treatment. Inspired by recent findings on activity-dependent structural plasticity of the adult brain, we used voxel-based morphometry to analyze the brains of 16 right-handed adults who more than two years earlier had suffered injury to the left or right median nerve followed by microsurgical repair. Healthy individuals served as matched controls. Irrespective of side of injury, we observed gray matter reductions in left ventral and right dorsal premotor cortex, and white matter reductions in commissural pathways interconnecting those motor areas...
March 14, 2018: Scientific Reports
Sophie H Bennett, Alastair J Kirby, Gerald T Finnerty
Neuronal connections form the physical basis for communication in the brain. Recently, there has been much interest in mapping the "connectome" to understand how brain structure gives rise to brain function, and ultimately, to behaviour. These attempts to map the connectome have largely assumed that connections are stable once formed. Recent studies, however, indicate that connections in mammalian brains may undergo rewiring during learning and experience-dependent plasticity. This suggests that the connectome is more dynamic than previously thought...
March 11, 2018: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
S Kabatas, C S Demir, E Civelek, I Yilmaz, A Kircelli, C Yilmaz, Y Akyuva, E Karaoz
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to analyze the effect of human Dental Pulp-Neural Crest Stem Cells (hDP-NCSCs) delivery on lesion site after spinal cord injury (SCI), and to observe the functional recovery after transplantation. METHODS: Neural Crest Stem Cells (NCSCs) were isolated from human Dental Pulp (hDP). The experimental rat population was divided into four groups (n = 6/24). Their behavioral motility was scored regularly. After 4-weeks, rats were sacrificed, and their spinal cords were examined for Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) labeled hDP-NCSCs by immunofluorescence (IF) staining...
2018: Bratislavské Lekárske Listy
Naomi B Fine, Michal Achituv, Amit Etkin, Ofer Merin, Arieh Y Shalev
Background : The immediate aftermath of traumatic events is a period of enhanced neural plasticity, following which some survivors remain with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) whereas others recover. Evidence points to impairments in emotional reactivity, emotion regulation, and broader executive functions as critically contributing to PTSD. Emerging evidence further suggests that the neural mechanisms underlying these functions remain plastic in adulthood and that targeted retraining of these systems may enhance their efficiency and could reduce the likelihood of developing PTSD...
2018: European Journal of Psychotraumatology
Mantas Mikaitis, Garibaldi Pineda García, James C Knight, Steve B Furber
SpiNNaker is a digital neuromorphic architecture, designed specifically for the low power simulation of large-scale spiking neural networks at speeds close to biological real-time. Unlike other neuromorphic systems, SpiNNaker allows users to develop their own neuron and synapse models as well as specify arbitrary connectivity. As a result SpiNNaker has proved to be a powerful tool for studying different neuron models as well as synaptic plasticity-believed to be one of the main mechanisms behind learning and memory in the brain...
2018: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Patrick D Ganzer, Michael J Darrow, Eric C Meyers, Bleyda R Solorzano, Andrea D Ruiz, Nicole M Robertson, Katherine S Adcock, Justin T James, Han S Jeong, April M Becker, Mark P Goldberg, David T Pruitt, Seth A Hays, Michael P Kilgard, Robert L Rennaker
Recovery from serious neurological injury requires substantial rewiring of neural circuits. Precisely-timed electrical stimulation could be used to restore corrective feedback mechanisms and promote adaptive plasticity after neurological insult, such as spinal cord injury (SCI) or stroke. This study provides the first evidence that closed-loop vagus nerve stimulation (CLV) based on the synaptic eligibility trace leads to dramatic recovery from the most common forms of SCI. The addition of CLV to rehabilitation promoted substantially more recovery of forelimb function compared to rehabilitation alone following chronic unilateral or bilateral cervical SCI in a rat model...
March 13, 2018: ELife
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