The amyloid hypothesis suggests that beta-amyloid (Aβ) deposition leads to alterations in neural function and ultimately to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. However, factors that underlie Aβ deposition are incompletely understood. One proposed model suggests that synaptic activity leads to increased Aβ deposition. More specifically, hyperactivity in the hippocampus may be detrimental and could be one factor that drives Aβ deposition. To test this model, we examined the relationship between hippocampal activity during a memory task using fMRI and subsequent longitudinal change in Aβ using PIB-PET imaging in cognitively normal older adults. We found that greater hippocampal activation at baseline was associated with increased Aβ accumulation. Furthermore, increasing Aβ accumulation mediated the influence of hippocampal activation on declining memory performance, demonstrating a crucial role of Aβ in linking hippocampal activation and memory. These findings support a model linking increased hippocampal activation to subsequent Aβ deposition and cognitive decline.
- Stephanie L Leal
- William J Jagust
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Informed consent was obtained from all research participants and approved by the Institutional Review Boards of Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and UC Berkeley.
- Alison Goate, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States
© 2017, Leal 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.
Deciphering patterns of connectivity between neurons in the brain is a critical step toward understanding brain function. Imaging-based neuroanatomical tracing identifies area-to-area or sparse neuron-to-neuron connectivity patterns, but with limited throughput. Barcode-based connectomics maps large numbers of single-neuron projections, but remains a challenge for jointly analyzing single-cell transcriptomics. Here, we established a rAAV2-retro barcode-based multiplexed tracing method that simultaneously characterizes the projectome and transcriptome at the single neuron level. We uncovered dedicated and collateral projection patterns of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) neurons to five downstream targets and found that projection-defined vmPFC neurons are molecularly heterogeneous. We identified transcriptional signatures of projection-specific vmPFC neurons, and verified Pou3f1 as a marker gene enriched in neurons projecting to the lateral hypothalamus, denoting a distinct subset with collateral projections to both dorsomedial striatum and lateral hypothalamus. In summary, we have developed a new multiplexed technique whose paired connectome and gene expression data can help reveal organizational principles that form neural circuits and process information.
Blindness affects millions of people around the world. A promising solution to restoring a form of vision for some individuals are cortical visual prostheses, which bypass part of the impaired visual pathway by converting camera input to electrical stimulation of the visual system. The artificially induced visual percept (a pattern of localized light flashes, or ‘phosphenes’) has limited resolution, and a great portion of the field’s research is devoted to optimizing the efficacy, efficiency, and practical usefulness of the encoding of visual information. A commonly exploited method is non-invasive functional evaluation in sighted subjects or with computational models by using simulated prosthetic vision (SPV) pipelines. An important challenge in this approach is to balance enhanced perceptual realism, biologically plausibility, and real-time performance in the simulation of cortical prosthetic vision. We present a biologically plausible, PyTorch-based phosphene simulator that can run in real-time and uses differentiable operations to allow for gradient-based computational optimization of phosphene encoding models. The simulator integrates a wide range of clinical results with neurophysiological evidence in humans and non-human primates. The pipeline includes a model of the retinotopic organization and cortical magnification of the visual cortex. Moreover, the quantitative effects of stimulation parameters and temporal dynamics on phosphene characteristics are incorporated. Our results demonstrate the simulator’s suitability for both computational applications such as end-to-end deep learning-based prosthetic vision optimization as well as behavioral experiments. The modular and open-source software provides a flexible simulation framework for computational, clinical, and behavioral neuroscientists working on visual neuroprosthetics.