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Beyond excitation/inhibition imbalance in multidimensional models of neural circuit changes in brain disorders.

  • Author(s): O'Donnell, Cian;
  • Gonçalves, J Tiago;
  • Portera-Cailliau, Carlos;
  • Sejnowski, Terrence J
  • et al.

A leading theory holds that neurodevelopmental brain disorders arise from imbalances in excitatory and inhibitory (E/I) brain circuitry. However, it is unclear whether this one-dimensional model is rich enough to capture the multiple neural circuit alterations underlying brain disorders. Here, we combined computational simulations with analysis of in vivo two-photon Ca2+ imaging data from somatosensory cortex of Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice, a model of Fragile-X Syndrome, to test the E/I imbalance theory. We found that: (1) The E/I imbalance model cannot account for joint alterations in the observed neural firing rates and correlations; (2) Neural circuit function is vastly more sensitive to changes in some cellular components over others; (3) The direction of circuit alterations in Fmr1 KO mice changes across development. These findings suggest that the basic E/I imbalance model should be updated to higher dimensional models that can better capture the multidimensional computational functions of neural circuits.

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