Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

A bird’s-eye view of brain activity in socially interacting mice through mobile edge computing (MEC)

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Science Advances  02 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 49, eabb9841
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb9841

Abstract

Social cognition requires neural processing, yet a unifying method linking particular brain activities and social behaviors is lacking. Here, we embedded mobile edge computing (MEC) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) on a neurotelemetry headstage, such that a particular neural event of interest is processed by the MEC and subsequently an LED is illuminated, allowing simultaneous temporospatial visualization of that neural event in multiple, socially interacting mice. As a proof of concept, we configured our system to illuminate an LED in response to gamma oscillations in the basolateral amygdala (BLA gamma) in freely moving mice. We identified (i) BLA gamma responses to a spider robot, (ii) affect-related BLA gamma during conflict, and (iii) formation of defensive aggregation under a threat by the robot, and reduction of BLA gamma responses in the inner-located mice. Our system can provide an intuitive framework for examining brain-behavior connections in various ecological situations and population structures.

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