The complexity of neuronal connections is particularly evident for neurons that comprise one of the primary memory centers in the brain – the hippocampus, which plays a fundamental role in memory formation and spatial navigation. The anatomy of hippocampal neuronal networks and their connectivity to other brain regions has remained, to a large extent, elusive. Researchers from the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany recently published a paper in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy describing a novel strategy for 3-D modeling of the brain’s memory centers.
The novel modeling technology was developed by Dr. Martin Pyka and colleagues from the Mercator Research Group, and enables 3-D computer reconstruction of the brain’s anatomy. More than a strictly anatomical model, the technology facilitates quantitation of neural connectivity, based on the spatial orientation of neurons and their projections. Using calculations generated from 3-D models, the investigators tracked the temporal propagation of neural signals across the networks. In doing so, they discovered that the size and shape of the hippocampus may be responsible for the specific neuronal firing frequency. This innovative technology provides a unique opportunity to study how memories are formed in the hippocampus from multiple sources of information input.
Study in Neuroanatomy: Parametric Anatomical Modeling: a method for modeling the anatomical layout of neurons and their projections
Press statement by Ruhr University Bochum: Novel technology: computer simulation of the hippocampus…