Javier G. Orlandi, Olav Stetter, Jordi Soriano, Theo Geisel and Demian Battaglia
PLOS ONE 9-6, e98842 (2014)
Neuronal dynamics are fundamentally constrained by the underlying structural network architecture, yet much of the details of this synaptic connectivity are still unknown even in neuronal cultures in vitro. Here we extend a previous approach based on information theory, the Generalized Transfer Entropy, to the reconstruction of connectivity of simulated neuronal networks of both excitatory and inhibitory neurons. We show that, due to the model-free nature of the developed measure, both kinds of connections can be reliably inferred if the average firing rate between synchronous burst events exceeds a small minimum frequency. Furthermore, we suggest, based on systematic simulations, that even lower spontaneous inter-burst rates could be raised to meet the requirements of our reconstruction algorithm by applying a weak spatially homogeneous stimulation to the entire network. By combining multiple recordings of the same in silico network before and after pharmacologically blocking inhibitory synaptic transmission, we show then how it becomes possible to infer with high confidence the excitatory or inhibitory nature of each individual neuron.