Neuronal physiology depends on a neuron's ion channel composition and unique morphology. Variable ion channel compositions can produce similar neuronal physiologies across animals. Less is known regarding the morphological precision required to produce reliable neuronal physiology. Theoretical studies suggest that morphology is tightly tuned to minimize wiring and conduction delay of synaptic events. We utilize high-resolution confocal microscopy and custom computational tools to characterize the morphologies of four neuron types in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab Cancer borealis. Macroscopic branching patterns and fine cable properties are variable within and across neuron types. We compare these neuronal structures to synthetic minimal spanning neurite trees constrained by a wiring cost equation and find that STG neurons do not adhere to prevailing hypotheses regarding wiring optimization principles. In this highly-modulated and oscillating circuit, neuronal structures appear to be governed by a space-filling mechanism that outweighs the cost of inefficient wiring.
- Eve Marder
- Adriane G Otopalik
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2017, Otopalik et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Evoked responses and oscillations represent two major electrophysiological phenomena in the human brain yet the link between them remains rather obscure. Here we show how most frequently studied EEG signals: the P300-evoked response and alpha oscillations (8–12 Hz) can be linked with the baseline-shift mechanism. This mechanism states that oscillations generate evoked responses if oscillations have a non-zero mean and their amplitude is modulated by the stimulus. Therefore, the following predictions should hold: (1) the temporal evolution of P300 and alpha amplitude is similar, (2) spatial localisations of the P300 and alpha amplitude modulation overlap, (3) oscillations are non-zero mean, (4) P300 and alpha amplitude correlate with cognitive scores in a similar fashion. To validate these predictions, we analysed the data set of elderly participants (N=2230, 60–82 years old), using (a) resting-state EEG recordings to quantify the mean of oscillations, (b) the event-related data, to extract parameters of P300 and alpha rhythm amplitude envelope. We showed that P300 is indeed linked to alpha rhythm, according to all four predictions. Our results provide an unifying view on the interdependency of evoked responses and neuronal oscillations and suggest that P300, at least partly, is generated by the modulation of alpha oscillations.
Perceptual decisions about sensory input are influenced by fluctuations in ongoing neural activity, most prominently driven by attention and neuromodulator systems. It is currently unknown if neuromodulator activity and attention differentially modulate perceptual decision-making and/or whether neuromodulatory systems in fact control attentional processes. To investigate the effects of two distinct neuromodulatory systems and spatial attention on perceptual decisions, we pharmacologically elevated cholinergic (through donepezil) and catecholaminergic (through atomoxetine) levels in humans performing a visuo-spatial attention task, while we measured electroencephalography (EEG). Both attention and catecholaminergic enhancement improved decision-making at the behavioral and algorithmic level, as reflected in increased perceptual sensitivity and the modulation of the drift rate parameter derived from drift diffusion modeling. Univariate analyses of EEG data time-locked to the attentional cue, the target stimulus, and the motor response further revealed that attention and catecholaminergic enhancement both modulated pre-stimulus cortical excitability, cue- and stimulus-evoked sensory activity, as well as parietal evidence accumulation signals. Interestingly, we observed both similar, unique, and interactive effects of attention and catecholaminergic neuromodulation on these behavioral, algorithmic, and neural markers of the decision-making process. Thereby, this study reveals an intricate relationship between attentional and catecholaminergic systems and advances our understanding about how these systems jointly shape various stages of perceptual decision-making.