Neuronal dynamics and connectivity analysis of neuronal cultures on multi electrode arrays

Lama, N. ORCID: 0000-0002-7737-8664, 2020. Neuronal dynamics and connectivity analysis of neuronal cultures on multi electrode arrays. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Despite a number of attempts over the past two decades, research into reliable, controlled induction of long term evoked responses, mimicking low level learning and memory in dissociated cell cultures remains challenging. In addition, a full understanding of the stimulus-response relationships that underlie synaptic plasticity has not yet been achieved, and many of the underlying principles remain largely unknown. Plasticity studies have been predominantly limited to low density Multi/Micro Electrode Arrays (MEAs). With the advent of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) based High-Density (HD) MEAs, unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution is now possible. In this thesis, an attempt to bridge the gap between studies of neural plasticity and the use of CMOS based HD-MEAs with thousands of electrodes, is reported. Additionally, since such HD-MEAs generate a large volume of data and require advanced analytics to efficiently process and analyse recordings, computational tools and novel algorithms to infer connectivity during plasticity have been developed.

The study showed that the responsiveness, stability and initial firing rate of neuronal cultures are the deciding factors to reliably induce evoked responses. With multi-site stimulation, sustained long term potentiation was achieved, which was validated both by evoked response plots and overall firing rates measured at five different time points - before and after repeated stimulation, and at a three day time points. In contrast, while depression responses were observed, it was found that the effects were not sustained over many days. The findings of the study suggest that appropriate selection of neuronal cultures is crucial for inducing desired evoked responses and criteria for this have been developed. Furthermore, it is concluded that the initial responses to test stimuli can be used to determine whether potentiated or depressed responses are to be expected.

To analyse the recordings, pipeline of computational tools was developed. Firstly, neuronal synchrony metrics were adapted for the first time for large HD-MEA recordings and shown to correspond effectively to the firing dynamics. To analyse functional connectivity, an information theoretic approach, Transfer Entropy(TE), was utilised. The method showed accurate estimation of functional connectivity with mid 80th percentile accuracy on simulated data. A superimposition method was proposed to enhance confidence in the connectivity estimation. To statistically evaluate connectivity estimation, a new surrogate method, based on ISI distribution approach, was proposed and validated with a simulated Izhikevich network. The method achieved improved accuracy, compared to the existing ISI shuffling method. This newly developed method was later utilised to infer connectivity and refine connections during the learning process of real neuronal cultures over many days of stimulation. The connectivity inference corresponded accurately to both the spontaneous and stimulated networks during evoked responses and the proposed method permitted observation of the evolution of connections for the potentiated network.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Lama, N.
Date: October 2020
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 19 Nov 2020 12:23
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:13

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