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Do external stimuli, applied to train cultured cortical networks, disturb the balance between activity and connectivity?

Research paper by Joost J le Feber, Jan J Stegenga, Wim W Rutten

Indexed on: 24 Jan '09Published on: 24 Jan '09Published in: Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference



Abstract

Learning, or more generally, plasticity may be studied using cultured neuronal networks on multi electrode arrays. Many protocols have been proposed to change connectivity in such networks. So far, only one of these protocols, proposed by Shahaf and Marom, aimed to change the input-output relationship of a selected connection in the network. Although the results were quite promising, the experiments appeared difficult to repeat and the protocol did not serve as a basis for wider investigation yet. Here, we repeated their protocol, and compared our 'learning curves' to the original results. Although in some experiments the protocol did not seem to work, we found that on average, the protocol showed a significant learning effect indeed. We frequently found learning curves that initially declined as in the original results, but then increased again before finally settling at a low level.