January 21, 2021

Inferring brain-wide interactions using data-constrained recurrent neural network models

Behavior arises from the coordinated activity of numerous anatomically and functionally distinct brain regions. Modern experimental tools allow unprecedented access to large neural populations spanning many interacting regions brain-wide. Yet, understanding such large-scale datasets necessitates both scalable computational models to extract meaningful features of inter-region communication and principled theories to interpret those features. Here, we introduce Current-Based Decomposition (CURBD), an approach for inferring brain-wide interactions using data-constrained recurrent neural network models that directly reproduce experimentally-obtained neural data. CURBD leverages the functional interactions inferred by such models to reveal directional currents between multiple brain regions. We first show that CURBD accurately isolates inter-region currents in simulated networks with known dynamics. We then apply CURBD to multi-region neural recordings obtained from mice during running, macaques during Pavlovian conditioning, and humans during memory retrieval to demonstrate the widespread applicability of CURBD to untangle brain-wide interactions underlying behavior from a variety of neural datasets.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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