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Analysis of Cultured Neuronal Networks Using Intraburst Firing Characteristics

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4 Author(s)
Stegenga, J. ; Univ. of Twente, Enschede ; le Feber, J. ; Marani, E. ; Rutten, W.L.C.

It is an open question whether neuronal networks, cultured on multielectrode arrays, retain any capability to usefully process information (learning and memory). A necessary prerequisite for learning is that stimulation can induce lasting changes in the network. To observe these changes, one needs a method to describe the network in sufficient detail, while stable in normal circumstances. We analyzed the spontaneous bursting activity that is encountered in dissociated cultures of rat neocortical cells. Burst profiles (BPs) were made by estimating the instantaneous array-wide firing frequency. The shape of the BPs was found to be stable on a time scale of hours. Spatiotemporal detail is provided by analyzing the instantaneous firing frequency per electrode. The resulting phase profiles (PPs) were estimated by aligning BPs to their peak spiking rate over a period of 15 min. The PPs reveal a stable spatiotemporal pattern of activity during bursts over a period of several hours, making them useful for plasticity and learning studies. We also show that PPs can be used to estimate conditional firing probabilities. Doing so, yields an approach in which network bursting behavior and functional connectivity can be studied.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 4 )