Living in a group has obvious advantages. As a member of a societal group, one can share resources with others, seek to protect oneself from predators and feed oneself efficiently. In a 2020 article published in Scientific progress, neuroscientist Jee Hyun Choi and her student Jisoo Kim from the Brain Science Institute of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) say there are still many more stories about the benefits of group living and social behaviors for the mammalian brain. discovered. Their research was conducted using CBRAIN (Collective Brain Research Aided by Illuminating Neural activity), a unique neuro-telemetry device equipped with LED lights, which enables real-time measurement and analysis of collective brain activities.
While many experiments have been conducted to determine individual behaviors and positions within cost-benefit schemes, the question of how a group of animals forms specific social behaviors has attracted increased interest from the neuroscience community. . Understanding how individuals strategize to produce concrete group behavior is essential for understanding social groups and their behavioral phenotypes. For example, recent studies have shown that the overall risk imposed on predators during successful predation attempts is reduced when predation is coordinated as a group.
“In the wild, animals are likely to encounter several threats in which group behavior may not be beneficial for all group members,” says lead author Jee Hyun Choi. “Indeed, forming a tight cluster can make some members difficult to effectively avoid predators. We aim to find the collective brain activities that represent behavioral phenotypes emerging from the group in a complex environment and make the brain-behavior link characterized among group members. “
In collaboration with Sung Q Lee of ETRI in South Korea, the research team developed CBRAIN, a wireless recording device with an edge-lit LED that adapts to the head of a mouse. This small device was implanted in the subcortical brain to collect voltage signals from a specific subregion of the amygdala called the basolateral amygdala (BLA), which is an area of the brain known to be very sensitive to stimuli. emotional issues such as stress and anxiety. When the rate-specific rhythmic activity on the map occurs during a real-time scan of neural activities, the device LED will light up. These rhythmic events, along with signals from a group of mice, are transmitted to a receiver. CBRAIN’s ability to generate a live report of collective brain activities is remarkable compared to other neural recording devices that analyze signals after all experiments are complete.
Choi and his team developed experimental protocols to confirm electrode coordinates and calibrated transient fast rhythms in BLA including the gamma frequency range, called gamma-ray bursts, in mice. Researchers studied this bursting phenomenon during active and passive fear manifestations when a large group of mice were attacked by a spider-like robot. Using CBRAIN, they observed that the occurrence of gamma-ray bursts during fear behaviors depended on social situations. Mice displayed less gamma-ray burst when they encountered the robot as a group, and mice avoided and defended against the robot in a group, just as they do in nature.
Post-hoc analysis of motion trajectories calculated by deep learning tools revealed that forms of aggregation are correlated with gamma activities. While the mice at the edge of the cluster showed higher gamma activity, those within the cluster showed a level of gamma activity similar to the level in the absence of a robot. “The reduction in gamma-ray bursts in the amygdala may reflect the social buffering effect of being together,” said Jisoo Kim, the first author of the article. “However, testing for activity in various ecological situations and different population structures is necessary to reach a definitive conclusion.”
When it comes to newly developed technology and the perspective of socio-behavioral neuroscience, many neuroscientists are optimistic. “We analyze the data acquired by CBRAIN in a manner identical to that of conventional neural recordings, but direct observation without first having to record and inspect the data gives us greater freedom in discovering the functions of brain activities. specific ”, concludes Choi. “I believe this work is an exemplary study demonstrating the effectiveness of real-time peripheral-illuminated neural recordings of individuals in a group, and the instantaneous binding of a brain and behavior will expand our understanding of the motivations behind complex social behaviors. ”
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Jisoo Kim et al, An Overview of Brain Activity in Social Interacting Mice Using Mobile Periphery Computing (MEC), Scientific progress (2020). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abb9841
Provided by the National Research Council of Science & Technology
Quote: Shedding Light on Neural Activities with LEDs (2021, February 26) retrieved February 27, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-02-neural.html
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