The Effect of Learning on Bursting

J. Stegenga, Jakob le Feber, Enrico Marani, Wim Rutten

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    We have studied the effect that learning a new stimulus–response (SR) relationship had within a neuronal network cultured on a multielectrode array. For training, we applied repetitive focal electrical stimulation delivered at a low rate (<1/s). Stimulation was withdrawn when a desired SR success ratio was achieved. It has been shown elsewhere, and we verified that this training algorithm, named conditional repetitive stimulation (CRS), can be used to strengthen an initially weak SR. So far, it remained unclear what the role of the rest of the network during learning was. We therefore studied the effect of CRS on spontaneously occurring network bursts. To this end, we made profiles of the firing rates within network bursts. We have earlier shown that these profiles change shape on a time base of several hours during spontaneous development. We show here that profiles of summed activity, called burst profiles, changed shape at an increased rate during CRS. This suggests that the whole network was involved in making the changes necessary to incorporate the desired SR relationship. However, a local (path-specific) component to learning was also found by analyzing profiles of single-electrode-activity phase profiles. Phase profiles that were not part of the SR relationship changed far less during CRS than the phase profiles of the electrodes that were part of the SR relationship. Finally, the manner in which phase profiles changed shape varied and could not be linked to the SR relationship.
    Original languageUndefined
    Article number10.1109/TBME.2008.2006856
    Pages (from-to)1220-1227
    Number of pages8
    JournalIEEE transactions on biomedical engineering
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


    • EWI-15347
    • IR-65489
    • METIS-265204

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