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The purpose of this paper is to extensively analyze and utilize the key features that characterize the recently available electrophysiological technique of growing selected populations of neurons on planar substrate microelectrode arrays. This experimental configuration is first simulated by modeling the signal transduction operated by an array of microtransducers coupled to a network of Hodgkin-Huxley-like neurons, connected to each other with given levels of synaptic strength. Signal processing tools are then described and validated by identifying the various degrees of connectivity previously introduced into the simulated network. Finally, these software tools are utilized to characterize the activity and identify the synaptic connectivity of networks of cultured neurons extracted from dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of chick embryos and exposed to synapse inhibiting/reinforcing ions. As a result, correlations between various regimens of electrophysiological activity and synaptic strength are obtained.
Date of Publication: Oct. 1997