Developmental Physiology Research

In the cerebral cortex the specificity of the nerve cells connections exerts a significant impact on the behavioral capabilities of the higher vertebrates.

Information processing in the CNS is constrained by the specificity of the synaptic connections in the neuronal network. The majority of synaptic connections are built in an early phase of development independent of the maturation of sensory organs. In a subsequent period, spontaneous activity and incoming sensory activity modify the original network to guarantee an optimal processing of natural information. Because the extremely high number of synaptic contacts in the neocortex, it is unlikely that each synaptic connection is entirely coded a priori. Instead, nerve cells form a functional network by interacting with its environment.

The laboratory of developmental physiology develops in vitro strategies to study regulatory processes involved in the emergence and modification of spontaneous activity in neocortical networks. With cell cultures of embryonic rodent cortices and a diversity of analytic methods the lab members focus on the functional blueprint of the young networks and the structural characteristics of the neuronal subpopulations in the earliest developmental stages.

New results include the demonstration of the role of spontaneous activity on the generation, migration and survival of young GABAergic neurons during the first two weeks in vitro, a time corresponding to the perinatal period in rodents. In ongoing projects we analyze the changes introduced by exogenous stimulation on the morphofunctional properties of the neuronal subpopulations and on the network properties.

Relevant selected references:

  • de Lima AD, Gieseler A, Voigt T (2008) Modulation of GABAergic interneurons migration by early spontaneous network activity. Dev Neurobiol 69: 105-123.
  • Klyueva Y, Meis S, de Lima AD, Voigt T, Munsch T (2008) Developmental downregulation of GABAergic drive parallels formation of functional synapses in cultured mouse neocortical networks. Dev Neurobiol, 68:934-949.
  • Herzog A, Kube K, Michaelis B, de Lima AD, Baltz T, Voigt T (2008) Contribution of the GABA shift to the transition from structural initialization to working stage in biological realistic networks. Neurocomputing 71:1134-1142.
  • de Lima AD, Lima BD, Voigt T (2007) Earliest spontaneous activity differentially regulates neocortical GABAergic interneuron subpopulations. Eur J Neurosci 25:1-16.
  • Herzog A, Kube K, Michaelis B, de Lima AD, Voigt T (2007) Displaced strategies optimize connectivity in neocortical networks. Neurocomputing 70:1121-1129.
  • Voigt T, Opitz T, de Lima AD (2005) Activation of early silent synapses by spontaneous synchronous network activity limits the range of neocortical connections. J Neurosci 25:4605-4615.
  • de Lima AD, Opitz T, Voigt T (2004) Irreversible loss of a subpopulation of cortical interneurons in the absence of glutamatergic network activity. Eur J Neurosci 19:2931-2943.
  • Opitz, T., de Lima, A.D. and Voigt, T. (2002) Spontaneous development of synchronous oscillatory activity during maturation of cortical networks in vitro. J. Neurophysiol., 88: 2196-2206.
  • Voigt,T., Opitz,T., and de Lima,A.D. (2001) Synchronous oscillatory activity in immature cortical network is driven by GABAergic preplate neurons. J.Neurosci., 21: 8895-8905. [Complete List of References of Developmental Physiology Lab] Link?

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