Validation and investigation of large-scale neural recordings across multiple visual brain areas of mice

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Shin, Donghoon
Haider, Bilal
Rozell, Christopher J.
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The recently developed ability to simultaneously record thousands of neurons provides unprecedented opportunity for answering important questions about the brain. However, reliable analysis of large-scale neural data has to be established in advance to answer questions. The conducted project is two-fold: In the first half, I validated the reliability of large-scale neural data analysis, and in the second half, I applied these methods to large-scale neural data to investigate how neural information processing in mice is influenced by neural oscillations in multiple visual brain areas. To validate the method, I first benchmarked two commonly used spike-sorting algorithms: Kilosort2 and Klustakwik2 in detectability of pairwise neuronal functional connectivity. Then, I developed an analysis pipeline of intrinsic signal imaging that non-invasively identifies specific visual cortical areas and their functional map. Then, I applied these validated methods to investigate coherent narrowband gamma oscillations (NBG) close to 60Hz (50 -70Hz) and prominent in multiple visual areas of mice during visual processing. More specifically, I investigated how NBG is represented in visual areas and inspect the role of NBG in visual processing. NBG is present in higher visual areas (HVAs) as well as in the visual thalamus and the primary visual cortex, as previously detailed in literature. Interestingly, there is a hierarchy of the coherence and power of NBG present in HVAs and it is consistent with the thalamo-cortical hierarchy that processes visual stimuli. Also, narrowband gamma propagates through local subnetworks rather than globally. Moreover, two neuronal clusters exist in LGN and exhibit two different coherent NBGs, and also have different visual preference to ON/OFF stimulus. With this result, I suggest two hypotheses for the role of NBG: First, that NBG synchronize visual brain areas for efficient communication between them, also known as the “communication through coherence” hypothesis. Second, that narrowband gamma encodes luminance information in a computationally efficient way.
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