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Luis M. A. Bettencourt, Greg J. Stephens, Michael I. Ham and Guenter W. Gross, "The functional structure of cortical neuronal networks grown in vitro", LAUR-06-5040. Preprint available upon request, 2006


We apply an information theoretic treatment of action potential time series measured with micro-electrode arrays to estimate the connectivity of mammalian neuronal cell assemblies grown in vitro. We infer connectivity between two neurons via the measurement of the mutual information between their spike trains. In addition we measure higher point multi-informations between any two spike trains conditional on the activity of a third cell, as a means to identify and distinguish classes of functional connectivity among three neurons. The use of a conditional three-cell measure removes some interpretational shortcomings of the pairwise mutual information and sheds light into the func- tional connectivity arrangements of any three cells. We analyze the resultant connectivity graphs in the light of other complex networks and demonstrate that, despite their ex vivo development, the connectivity maps derived from cultured neural assemblies are similar to other biological networks and display nontrivial structure in clustering coefficient, network diameter and assortative mixing. Specifically we show that these networks are weakly disassortative small world graphs, which dif- fer significantly in their structure from randomized graphs with the same degree. We expect our analysis to be useful in identifying the computational motifs of a wide variety of complex networks, derived from time series data.

BibTeX Entry

author = {Luis M. A. Bettencourt and Greg J. Stephens and Michael I. Ham and Guenter W. Gross},
title = {The functional structure of cortical neuronal networks grown in vitro},
year = {2006},
note = {LAUR-06-5040. Preprint available upon request}