Aug 30, 2019

Blue Brain finds how neurons in the mouse neocortex form billions of synaptic connections

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Researchers at EPFL’s Blue Brain Project, a Swiss brain research Initiative, have combined two high profile, large-scale datasets to produce something completely new—a first draft model of the rules guiding neuron-to-neuron connectivity of a whole mouse neocortex. They generated statistical instances of the micro-connectome of 10 million neurons, a model spanning five orders of magnitude and containing 88 billion synaptic connections. A basis for the world’s largest-scale simulations of detailed neural circuits.

Identifying the connections across all neurons in every region of the neocortex

The structure of synaptic connections between shapes their activity and function. Measuring a comprehensive snapshot of this so-called connectome has so far only been accomplished within tiny volumes, smaller than the head of a pin. For larger volumes, the long-range connectivity, formed by bundles of extremely thin but long fibers, has only been studied for small numbers of individual neurons, which is far from a complete picture. Alternatively, it has been studied at the macro-scale, a ‘zoomed-out’ view of average features that does not provide single-cell resolution.

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