Closed-loop stimulation using a multiregion brain-machine interface has analgesic effects in rodents
Sun, Guanghao; Zeng, Fei; McCartin, Michael; Zhang, Qiaosheng; Xu, Helen; Liu, Yaling; Chen, Zhe Sage; Wang, Jing
Effective treatments for chronic pain remain limited. Conceptually, a closed-loop neural interface combining sensory signal detection with therapeutic delivery could produce timely and effective pain relief. Such systems are challenging to develop because of difficulties in accurate pain detection and ultrafast analgesic delivery. Pain has sensory and affective components, encoded in large part by neural activities in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), respectively. Meanwhile, studies show that stimulation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) produces descending pain control. Here, we designed and tested a brain-machine interface (BMI) combining an automated pain detection arm, based on simultaneously recorded local field potential (LFP) signals from the S1 and ACC, with a treatment arm, based on optogenetic activation or electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the PFC in freely behaving rats. Our multiregion neural interface accurately detected and treated acute evoked pain and chronic pain. This neural interface is activated rapidly, and its efficacy remained stable over time. Given the clinical feasibility of LFP recordings and DBS, our findings suggest that BMI is a promising approach for pain treatment.
Uncovering spatial representations from spatiotemporal patterns of rodent hippocampal field potentials
Cao, Liang; Varga, Viktor; Chen, Zhe S
Spatiotemporal patterns of large-scale spiking and field potentials of the rodent hippocampus encode spatial representations during maze runs, immobility, and sleep. Here, we show that multisite hippocampal field potential amplitude at ultra-high-frequency band (FPAuhf), a generalized form of multiunit activity, provides not only a fast and reliable reconstruction of the rodent's position when awake, but also a readout of replay content during sharp-wave ripples. This FPAuhf feature may serve as a robust real-time decoding strategy from large-scale recordings in closed-loop experiments. Furthermore, we develop unsupervised learning approaches to extract low-dimensional spatiotemporal FPAuhf features during run and ripple periods and to infer latent dynamical structures from lower-rank FPAuhf features. We also develop an optical flow-based method to identify propagating spatiotemporal LFP patterns from multisite array recordings, which can be used as a decoding application. Finally, we develop a prospective decoding strategy to predict an animal's future decision in goal-directed navigation.
Spiking Recurrent Neural Networks Represent Task-Relevant Neural Sequences in Rule-Dependent Computation
Xue, Xiaohe; Wimmer, Ralf D.; Halassa, Michael M.; Chen, Zhe Sage
Prefrontal cortical neurons play essential roles in performing rule-dependent tasks and working memory-based decision making. Motivated by PFC recordings of task-performing mice, we developed an excitatory"“inhibitory spiking recurrent neural network (SRNN) to perform a rule-dependent two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) task. We imposed several important biological constraints onto the SRNN and adapted spike frequency adaptation (SFA) and SuperSpike gradient methods to train the SRNN efficiently. The trained SRNN produced emergent rule-specific tunings in single-unit representations, showing rule-dependent population dynamics that resembled experimentally observed data. Under various test conditions, we manipulated the SRNN parameters or configuration in computer simulations, and we investigated the impacts of rule-coding error, delay duration, recurrent weight connectivity and sparsity, and excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance on both task performance and neural representations. Overall, our modeling study provides a computational framework to understand neuronal representations at a fine timescale during working memory and cognitive control and provides new experimentally testable hypotheses in future experiments.
Decoding pain from brain activity
Chen, Zhe Sage
Pain is a dynamic, complex and multidimensional experience. The identification of pain from brain activity as neural readout may effectively provide a neural code for pain, and further provide useful information for pain diagnosis and treatment. Advances in neuroimaging and large-scale electrophysiology have enabled us to examine neural activity with improved spatial and temporal resolution, providing opportunities to decode pain in humans and freely behaving animals. This topical review provides a systematical overview of state-of-the-art methods for decoding pain from brain signals, with special emphasis on electrophysiological and neuroimaging modalities. We show how pain decoding analyses can help pain diagnosis and discovery of neurobiomarkers for chronic pain. Finally, we discuss the challenges in the research field and point to several important future research directions.
Sharp Tuning of Head Direction and Angular Head Velocity Cells in the Somatosensory Cortex
Long, Xiaoyang; Deng, Bin; Young, Calvin K; Liu, Guo-Long; Zhong, Zeqi; Chen, Qian; Yang, Hui; Lv, Sheng-Qing; Chen, Zhe Sage; Zhang, Sheng-Jia
Head direction (HD) cells form a fundamental component in the brain's spatial navigation system and are intricately linked to spatial memory and cognition. Although HD cells have been shown to act as an internal neuronal compass in various cortical and subcortical regions, the neural substrate of HD cells is incompletely understood. It is reported that HD cells in the somatosensory cortex comprise regular-spiking (RS, putative excitatory) and fast-spiking (FS, putative inhibitory) neurons. Surprisingly, somatosensory FS HD cells fire in bursts and display much sharper head-directionality than RS HD cells. These FS HD cells are nonconjunctive, rarely theta rhythmic, sparsely connected and enriched in layer 5. Moreover, sharply tuned FS HD cells, in contrast with RS HD cells, maintain stable tuning in darkness; FS HD cells' coexistence with RS HD cells and angular head velocity (AHV) cells in a layer-specific fashion through the somatosensory cortex presents a previously unreported configuration of spatial representation in the neocortex. Together, these findings challenge the notion that FS interneurons are weakly tuned to sensory stimuli, and offer a local circuit organization relevant to the generation and transmission of HD signaling in the brain.
Oxytocin promotes prefrontal population activity via the PVN-PFC pathway to regulate pain
Liu, Yaling; Li, Anna; Bair-Marshall, Chloe; Xu, Helen; Jee, Hyun Jung; Zhu, Elaine; Sun, Mengqi; Zhang, Qiaosheng; Lefevre, Arthur; Chen, Zhe Sage; Grinevich, Valery; Froemke, Robert C; Wang, Jing
Neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) can provide top-down regulation of sensory-affective experiences such as pain. Bottom-up modulation of sensory coding in the PFC, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we examined how oxytocin (OT) signaling from the hypothalamus regulates nociceptive coding in the PFC. In vivo time-lapse endoscopic calcium imaging in freely behaving rats showed that OT selectively enhanced population activity in the prelimbic PFC in response to nociceptive inputs. This population response resulted from the reduction of evoked GABAergic inhibition and manifested as elevated functional connectivity involving pain-responsive neurons. Direct inputs from OT-releasing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus are crucial to maintaining this prefrontal nociceptive response. Activation of the prelimbic PFC by OT or direct optogenetic stimulation of oxytocinergic PVN projections reduced acute and chronic pain. These results suggest that oxytocinergic signaling in the PVN-PFC circuit constitutes a key mechanism to regulate cortical sensory processing.
A prototype closed-loop brain-machine interface for the study and treatment of pain
Zhang, Qiaosheng; Hu, Sile; Talay, Robert; Xiao, Zhengdong; Rosenberg, David; Liu, Yaling; Sun, Guanghao; Li, Anna; Caravan, Bassir; Singh, Amrita; Gould, Jonathan D; Chen, Zhe S; Wang, Jing
Chronic pain is characterized by discrete pain episodes of unpredictable frequency and duration. This hinders the study of pain mechanisms and contributes to the use of pharmacological treatments associated with side effects, addiction and drug tolerance. Here, we show that a closed-loop brain-machine interface (BMI) can modulate sensory-affective experiences in real time in freely behaving rats by coupling neural codes for nociception directly with therapeutic cortical stimulation. The BMI decodes the onset of nociception via a state-space model on the basis of the analysis of online-sorted spikes recorded from the anterior cingulate cortex (which is critical for pain processing) and couples real-time pain detection with optogenetic activation of the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (which exerts top-down nociceptive regulation). In rats, the BMI effectively inhibited sensory and affective behaviours caused by acute mechanical or thermal pain, and by chronic inflammatory or neuropathic pain. The approach provides a blueprint for demand-based neuromodulation to treat sensory-affective disorders, and could be further leveraged for nociceptive control and to study pain mechanisms.
How our understanding of memory replay evolves
Chen, Zhe Sage; Wilson, Matthew A
Memory reactivations and replay, widely reported in the hippocampus and cortex across species, have been implicated in memory consolidation, planning, and spatial and skill learning. Technological advances in electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and human neuroimaging techniques have enabled neuroscientists to measure large-scale neural activity with increasing spatiotemporal resolution and have provided opportunities for developing robust analytic methods to identify memory replay. In this article, we first review a large body of historically important and representative memory replay studies from the animal and human literature. We then discuss our current understanding of memory replay functions in learning, planning, and memory consolidation and further discuss the progress in computational modeling that has contributed to these improvements. Next, we review past and present analytic methods for replay analyses and discuss their limitations and challenges. Finally, looking ahead, we discuss some promising analytic methods for detecting nonstereotypical, behaviorally nondecodable structures from large-scale neural recordings. We argue that seamless integration of multisite recordings, real-time replay decoding, and closed-loop manipulation experiments will be essential for delineating the role of memory replay in a wide range of cognitive and motor functions.
On the Role of Theory and Modeling in Neuroscience
Levenstein, Daniel; Alvarez, Veronica A; Amarasingham, Asohan; Azab, Habiba; Chen, Zhe S; Gerkin, Richard C; Hasenstaub, Andrea; Iyer, Ramakrishnan; Jolivet, Renaud B; Marzen, Sarah; Monaco, Joseph D; Prinz, Astrid A; Quraishi, Salma; Santamaria, Fidel; Shivkumar, Sabyasachi; Singh, Matthew F; Traub, Roger; Nadim, Farzan; Rotstein, Horacio G; Redish, A David
In recent years, the field of neuroscience has gone through rapid experimental advances and a significant increase in the use of quantitative and computational methods. This growth has created a need for clearer analyses of the theory and modeling approaches used in the field. This issue is particularly complex in neuroscience because the field studies phenomena that cross a wide range of scales and often require consideration at varying degrees of abstraction, from precise biophysical interactions to the computations they implement. We argue that a pragmatic perspective of science, in which descriptive, mechanistic, and normative models and theories each play a distinct role in defining and bridging levels of abstraction, will facilitate neuroscientific practice. This analysis leads to methodological suggestions, including selecting a level of abstraction that is appropriate for a given problem, identifying transfer functions to connect models and data, and the use of models themselves as a form of experiment.
Pain, from perception to action: A computational perspective
Chen, Zhe Sage; Wang, Jing
Pain is driven by sensation and emotion, and in turn, it motivates decisions and actions. To fully appreciate the multidimensional nature of pain, we formulate the study of pain within a closed-loop framework of sensory-motor prediction. In this closed-loop cycle, prediction plays an important role, as the interaction between prediction and actual sensory experience shapes pain perception and subsequently, action. In this Perspective, we describe the roles of two prominent computational theories-Bayesian inference and reinforcement learning-in modeling adaptive pain behaviors. We show that prediction serves as a common theme between these two theories, and that each of these theories can explain unique aspects of the pain perception-action cycle. We discuss how these computational theories and models can improve our mechanistic understandings of pain-centered processes such as anticipation, attention, placebo hypoalgesia, and pain chronification.