Estimation in Neuroscience: Characterizing local circuits in the Inferior Colliculus

Here’s more evidence that estimation is catching on in neuroscience, a beautiful paper in from Silveira et al. (2023) in The Journal of Neuroscience. The paper characterizes local functional circuitry in the inferior colliculus (IC), a key processing station for auditory information ​(Silveira et al., 2023)​. The authors show that excitatory neurons in the IC can excite each as well as putative inhibitory neurons, meaning that there is both a local recurrent excitatory network as well as a possible feed-forward inhibitory loop. They show that they can produce recurrent bouts of excitation by stimulating excitatory neurons in the IC when GABA is blocked, and that neuropeptide Y can then limit/block these recurrent excitation. It’s lovely, careful work that helps map out the functional circuitry at an important auditory processing center. Best of all, the authors make extensive use of estimation, rolling their own Gardner-Altman plots with bootsrapped confidence intervals. Below, for example, is one of their figures showing that neuropeptide Y (NPY) limits the recurrent excitation produced during activation of a subclass of excitatory neurons in the IC. (Figure reproduced without permission :-().

I (Bob) am going to reach out to the authors to see why they ended up making their own estimation figures (they cite DABEST, but it looks like they didn’t end up using it), and if there are any ways esci could be updated to suit their needs.

  1. Silveira, M. A., Drotos, A. C., Pirrone, T. M., Versalle, T. S., Bock, A., & Roberts, M. T. (2023). Neuropeptide Y Signaling Regulates Recurrent Excitation in the Auditory Midbrain. Society for Neuroscience. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0900-23.2023

I'm a teacher, researcher, and gadfly of neuroscience. My research interests are in the neural basis of learning and memory, the history of neuroscience, computational neuroscience, bibliometrics, and the philosophy of science. I teach courses in neuroscience, statistics, research methods, learning and memory, and happiness. In my spare time I'm usually tinkering with computers, writing programs, or playing ice hockey.

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