I first began studying neural circuits in Ed Callaway’s lab at the Salk Institute, even before his group was doing viral tracing studies. To map functional circuits, we used electrophysiology of 1-2 neurons and glutamate uncaging with UV light, or photostimulation. Now photostimulation has transformed into optogenetics and neuroscientists have the ability to record from up to 1,000 neurons while animals freely behave, providing unprecedented insight into the neural circuits mediating complex behaviors and cognition.
I’m sharing a curated list of primary research papers, to help increase visibility of the amazing neuroscience research that’s published every month. For April, I’ve selected 7 neural circuit-related papers with relevance to cognition, memory, and neuropsychiatric disorders.
1. Engrams and circuits crucial for systems consolidation of a memory
by Takashi Kitamura, Sachie K. Ogawa, Dheeraj S. Roy, Teruhiro Okuyama, Mark D. Morrissey, Lillian M. Smith, Roger L. Redondo, & Susumu Tonegawa
This tour de force out of RIKEN-MIT provides a comprehensive neural circuit mechanism for consolidation of memory, showing for the first time that memories initially form simultaneously in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.
Read more here
2. Active dentate granule cells encode experience to promote the addition of adult- born hippocampal neurons
by Gregory W. Kirschen, Jia Shen, Mu Tian, Bryce Schroeder, Jia Wang, Guoming Man, Song Wu & Shaoyu Ge
This group from SUNY Stonybrook studied the neural circuit activity of the dorsal dentate gyrus during exploratory experiences known to promote survival of new hippocampal neurons. By coupling in vivo Ca2+ imaging of hippocampal neurons in freely behaving mice with a virtual reality system, they discovered that a new experience increased firing of active dentate granule neurons. Exploration in multiple novel virtual environments promoted dentate activation and enhanced the addition of new hippocampal neurons. Optogenetically silencing dentate granule cell activity during novel experiences perturbed experience-induced neuronal addition.
Read more here