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Volume 20 Issue 3, March 2017

Over the last few decades, human brain structure and function have been examined using various techniques. This issue focuses on some of the latest considerations and advances in human brain mapping both within and across techniques, which together may help neuroscientists obtain a more complete picture of the brain.297–377

Editorial

  • We present a special issue highlighting considerations and recent developments in noninvasive techniques that improve our understanding of neural measurements in humans, bridging the gap between human and animal research in neuroscience.

    Editorial

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  • The validity of conclusions drawn from functional MRI research has been questioned for some time now. Nature Neuroscience and Nature Communications are committed to working with neuroimaging researchers to improve the robustness and reproducibility of their work.

    Editorial
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Commentary

  • Responding to widespread concerns about reproducibility, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping created a working group to identify best practices in data analysis, results reporting and data sharing to promote open and reproducible research in neuroimaging. We describe the challenges of open research and the barriers the field faces.

    • Thomas E Nichols
    • Samir Das
    • B T Thomas Yeo
    Commentary
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Perspective

  • A revolution is underway in cognitive neuroscience, where tools and techniques from computer science and the tech industry are helping to extract more meaningful cognitive signals from noisy and increasingly large fMRI datasets. In this paper, the authors review the cutting edge of such computational analyses and discuss future opportunities and challenges.

    • Jonathan D Cohen
    • Nathaniel Daw
    • Theodore L Willke
    Perspective
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Review Article

  • The study of neuroanatomy using MRI enables key insights into how our brains function, are shaped by genes and environment, and how they change with development, aging and disease. The authors provide an overview of the methods for measuring the brain and also describe key artifacts and confounds

    • Jason P Lerch
    • André J W van der Kouwe
    • Stamatios N Sotiropoulos
    Review Article
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG) tracks the millisecond electrical activity of the brain noninvasively. This review emphasizes MEG's unique assets, especially in terms of imaging and resolving the mechanisms underlying the apparent complexity of polyrhythmic brain dynamics. It also identifies practical challenges and clarifies misconceptions about the technique.

    • Sylvain Baillet
    Review Article
  • Cognitive activity requires the collective behavior of cortical, thalamic and spinal neurons across large-scale systems of the CNS. This paper provides an illustrated introduction to dynamic models of large-scale brain activity, from the tenets of the underlying theory to challenges, controversies and recent breakthroughs.

    • Michael Breakspear
    Review Article
  • Network neuroscience tackles the challenge of discovering the principles underlying complex brain function and cognition from an explicitly integrative perspective. Here, the authors discuss emerging trends in network neuroscience, charting a path towards a better understanding of the brain that bridges computation, theory and experiment across spatial scales and species.

    • Danielle S Bassett
    • Olaf Sporns
    Review Article
  • Neuroimaging and pattern recognition are being combined to develop brain models of clinical disorders. Such models yield biomarkers that can be shared and validated across populations, narrowing the gap between neuroscience and clinical applications. The authors summarize 475 translational modeling studies, highlighting challenges and ways to improve biomarker development.

    • Choong-Wan Woo
    • Luke J Chang
    • Tor D Wager
    Review Article
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News & Views

  • A catalog of the cells found in the hypothalamic arcuate–median eminence complex provides insights into genome-wide association studies of complex traits

    • Martin Hemberg
    News & Views
  • McHenry and colleagues delineate a neural circuit controlling female sexual behavior. These experiments shed light on how the brain optimizes reproductive behavior to coincide with phases of peak fertility.

    • Gül Dölen
    News & Views
  • To learn from others' experience, one must link environmental conditions with social cues. A specific amygdala circuit underlies social learning of fear, and targeted activation normalizes behavior in a rodent model of autism.

    • Yoav Kfir
    • Rony Paz
    News & Views
  • Many people still associate brain glucose metabolism with neurons. A new report shows that stimulation of astrocytic glutamate uptake increases glucose utilization, suggesting that astrocytes play a major role in the glucose uptake signal. However, this still reflects synaptic activity.

    • A Jon Stoessl
    News & Views
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Brief Communication

  • Dysfunction of the neuroendocrine HPA axis is associated with a variety of physiological and psychological pathologies. The authors show that corticotropin-releasing factor type 1 receptors within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus are a key central component of HPA axis regulation that prepares the organism for chronic exposure to stressful stimuli.

    • Assaf Ramot
    • Zhiying Jiang
    • Alon Chen
    Brief Communication
  • Using large-network calcium imaging in alert mouse frontal cortex, the authors identify a significant covariance of responses of VIP interneurons and pyramidal cells. Optogenetic interrogation of this brain region revealed a pull–push inhibitory circuit driven by neuromodulation of VIP interneurons that contrasts with canonical feedforward push–pull excitation.

    • Pablo Garcia-Junco-Clemente
    • Taruna Ikrar
    • Joshua T Trachtenberg
    Brief Communication
  • The identity of the cell types contributing to the [18F]FDG positron emission tomography signal remain highly controversial. In this study, the authors demonstrate that activating glutamate astrocytic transport increases brain [18F]FDG uptake. These findings indicate that astrocytes may also impact [18F]FDG positron emission tomography signal.

    • Eduardo R Zimmer
    • Maxime J Parent
    • Pedro Rosa-Neto
    Brief Communication
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Article

  • The nature of astrocyte diversity in the adult brain has remained poorly defined. The authors identify five astrocyte subpopulations in the brain that exhibit extensive molecular and functional diversity. They uncover correlative populations in malignant glioma, providing insight into how diverse astrocyte populations contribute to synaptogenesis, tumor pathophysiology and neurological disease.

    • Chia-Ching John Lin
    • Kwanha Yu
    • Benjamin Deneen
    Article
  • The role of pericytes in the regulation of cerebral blood flow (CBF) and neurovascular coupling remains unclear. Using loss-of-function pericyte-deficient mice, the authors report that pericyte degeneration reduces CBF responses to neuronal stimuli and oxygen supply to the brain, leading to metabolic stress, neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration.

    • Kassandra Kisler
    • Amy R Nelson
    • Berislav V Zlokovic
    Article
  • The function of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep remains unclear. By examining how REM sleep affects synapses in the mouse cortex, the authors show that REM sleep is fundamental to brain development, learning and memory consolidation by selectively pruning and maintaining newly formed synapses via dendritic calcium spike-dependent mechanisms.

    • Wei Li
    • Lei Ma
    • Wen-Biao Gan
    Article
  • Inputs to midbrain dopamine neurons control rewarding and drug-related behaviors. The authors found that nucleus accumbens inputs and local GABA neurons inhibit dopamine neurons through distinct populations of GABA receptors. Furthermore, genetic deletion of GABAB receptors from dopamine neurons selectively increased behavioral sensitivity to cocaine.

    • Nicholas J Edwards
    • Hugo A Tejeda
    • Antonello Bonci
    Article
  • Social behaviors require neural circuits to process social cues and orchestrate motivational states. This study identifies a subpopulation of hypothalamic neurons expressing neurotensin that are engaged by social and hormonal signals. These neurons project to midbrain dopaminergic reward systems to promote and reinforce social and motivated behavior in a hormone-sensitive manner.

    • Jenna A McHenry
    • James M Otis
    • Garret D Stuber
    Article
  • Effective social behavior requires comprehension of social cues and use of those cues to guide behavior. This study uncovers an amygdala circuit that is necessary for socially driven valuation of environmental cues. The strength of this circuit correlates with social learning, and augmentation of this circuit enhances abnormal social learning.

    • Robert C Twining
    • Jaime E Vantrease
    • J Amiel Rosenkranz
    Article
  • Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Shibata et al. show that continuous training conducted after performance improvement has been maximized hyperstabilizes the skill learned and protects it from subsequent new learning by drastically changing early visual areas from excitatory (glutamate)-dominant to inhibitory (GABA)-dominant neurochemical environments.

    • Kazuhisa Shibata
    • Yuka Sasaki
    • Takeo Watanabe
    Article
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Resource

  • Su et al. investigated the chromatin accessibility status of neurons in the adult mouse dentate gyrus at different timepoints after activation at the genome-wide level. Their study provides a potential mechanism by which neuronal activity may reshape the epigenetic landscape, thereby dynamically changing transcriptome and neuronal properties over time.

    • Yijing Su
    • Jaehoon Shin
    • Hongjun Song
    Resource
  • The hypothalamic arcuate–median eminence (Arc-ME) complex is rich with functionally distinct cell types, a fraction of which have been characterized. The authors profile 20,921 individual cells by single-cell RNA-seq, identifying 50 Arc-ME cell types and their markers, determining each's response to energy status and implicating two neuron populations in the genetic control of obesity.

    • John N Campbell
    • Evan Z Macosko
    • Linus T Tsai
    Resource
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