|In vitro coherent network activity - a new electrophysiological model for drug testing in the mouse model of fragile X
by Carlos Maureira and Juan Bacigalupo, 4/14/2011
Spontaneous and event-driven activity in a neuronal network strongly depends on intrinsic cellular properties, synaptic connections and network topological features. Relevant dynamics of neuronal activity within the network results from the coordinated discharge of large groups of neurons; within these groups, some their components form specific functional assembles displaying normal or anomalous activity patterns, influenced by intrinsic, synaptic and network properties. Network patterns or states of activity significantly affect sensory and endogenous neuronal activity and behaviors.
The mutually interacting factors - intrinsic, synaptic and network properties- make coherent network activity highly sensitive to small perturbations and influences, as for example, ephaptic interactions. Small influences may be amplified, leading to new dominant states of activity or even to extinguish spontaneous normal activity.
We have found abnormal network activity patters in Fragile X mouse brain slices. In the Fragile X syndrome, abnormal network dynamics might interfere with the formation of neuronal assembles, precluding normal representations and neuronal computation capabilities. Our aim is to relate the anomalous network dynamics of the mutant brain slices to its underlying intrinsic, synaptic and network characteristics. Additionally, we aim to establish network dynamics as a sensitive drug screening method for testing possible therapeutics strategies.