One month in the life of a neuron: longitudinal single-unit electrophysiology in the monkey visual system


Conventional recording methods generally preclude following the activity of the same neurons in awake animals across days. This limits our ability to systematically investigate the principles of neuronal specialization, or to study phenomena that evolve over multiple days such as experience-dependent plasticity. To redress this shortcoming, we developed a drivable, chronically implanted microwire recording preparation that allowed us to follow visual responses in inferotemporal (IT) cortex in awake behaving monkeys across multiple days, and in many cases across months. The microwire bundle and other implanted components were MRI compatible and thus permitted in the same animals both functional imaging and long-term recording from multiple neurons in deep structures within a region the approximate size of one voxel (1 mm). The distinct patterns of stimulus selectivity observed in IT neurons, together with stable features in spike waveforms and interspike interval distributions, allowed us to track individual neurons across weeks and sometimes months. The long-term consistency of visual responses shown here permits large-scale mappings of neuronal properties using massive image libraries presented over the course of days. We demonstrate this possibility by screening the visual responses of single neurons to a set of 10,000 stimuli.

Published in: American Physiological Society


David B. T. McMahon, Igor V. Bondar, Olusoji A. T. Afuwape, David C. Ide and David A. Leopold

Publication Information:

. J Neurophysiol 112: 1748–1762, 2014
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