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Lara-Gonzalez, Esther; Padilla-Orozco, Montserrat; Fuentes-Serrano, Alejandra; Bargas, Jose; Duhne, Mariana (2022)

TRANSLATIONAL NEURONAL ENSEMBLES: NEURONAL MICROCIRCUITS IN PSYCHOLOGY, PHYSIOLOGY, PHARMACOLOGY AND PATHOLOGY

Front Syst Neurosci 16():
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Multi-recording techniques show evidence that neurons coordinate their firing forming ensembles and that brain networks are made by connections between ensembles. While "canonical" microcircuits are composed of interconnected principal neurons and interneurons, it is not clear how they participate in recorded neuronal ensembles: "groups of neurons that show spatiotemporal co-activation". Understanding synapses and their plasticity has become complex, making hard to consider all details to fill the gap between cellular-synaptic and circuit levels. Therefore, two assumptions became necessary: First, whatever the nature of the synapses these may be simplified by "functional connections". Second, whatever the mechanisms to achieve synaptic potentiation or depression, the resultant synaptic weights are relatively stable. Both assumptions have experimental basis cited in this review, and tools to analyze neuronal populations are being developed based on them. Microcircuitry processing followed with multi-recording techniques show temporal sequences of neuronal ensembles resembling computational routines. These sequences can be aligned with the steps of behavioral tasks and behavior can be modified upon their manipulation, supporting the hypothesis that they are memory traces. In vitro, recordings show that these temporal sequences can be contained in isolated tissue of histological scale. Sequences found in control conditions differ from those recorded in pathological tissue obtained from animal disease models and those recorded after the actions of clinically useful drugs to treat disease states, setting the basis for new bioassays to test drugs with potential clinical use. These findings make the neuronal ensembles theoretical framework a dynamic neuroscience paradigm.