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Journal Article

Generation of dense statistical connectomes from sparse morphological data


Egger,  Robert
Max Planck Society;

Dercksen,  Vincent J.
Max Planck Society;

Udvary,  Daniel
Max Planck Society;

Hege,  Hans-Christian
Max Planck Society;

Oberlaender,  Marcel
Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, Max Planck Society;

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Egger, R., Dercksen, V. J., Udvary, D., Hege, H.-C., & Oberlaender, M. (2014). Generation of dense statistical connectomes from sparse morphological data. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 8: 129. doi:10.3389/fnana.2014.00129.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0026-D06F-D
Sensory-evoked signal flow, at cellular and network levels, is primarily determined by the synaptic wiring of the underlying neuronal circuitry. Measurements of synaptic innervation, connection probabilities and subcellular organization of synaptic inputs are thus among the most active fields of research in contemporary neuroscience. Methods to measure these quantities range from electrophysiological recordings over reconstructions of dendrite-axon overlap at light-microscopic levels to dense circuit reconstructions of small volumes at electron-microscopic resolution. However, quantitative and complete measurements at subcellular resolution and mesoscopic scales to obtain all local and long-range synaptic in/outputs for any neuron within an entire brain region are beyond present methodological limits. Here, we present a novel concept, implemented within an interactive software environment called NeuroNet, which allows (i) integration of sparsely sampled (sub)cellular morphological data into an accurate anatomical reference frame of the brain region(s) of interest, (ii) up-scaling to generate an average dense model of the neuronal circuitry within the respective brain region(s) and (iii) statistical measurements of synaptic innervation between all neurons within the model. We illustrate our approach by generating a dense average model of the entire rat vibrissal cortex, providing the required anatomical data, and illustrate how to measure synaptic innervation statistically. Comparing our results with data from paired recordings in vitro and in vivo, as well as with reconstructions of synaptic contact sites at light- and electron-microscopic levels, we find that our in silico measurements are in line with previous results.