Preconfigured architecture of the developing mouse brain

Cell Rep. 2024 May 24;43(6):114267. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2024.114267. Online ahead of print.


In the adult brain, structural and functional parameters, such as synaptic sizes and neuronal firing rates, follow right-skewed and heavy-tailed distributions. While this organization is thought to have significant implications, its development is still largely unknown. Here, we address this knowledge gap by investigating a large-scale dataset recorded from the prefrontal cortex and the olfactory bulb of mice aged 4-60 postnatal days. We show that firing rates and spike train interactions have a largely stable distribution shape throughout the first 60 postnatal days and that the prefrontal cortex displays a functional small-world architecture. Moreover, early brain activity exhibits an oligarchical organization, where high-firing neurons have hub-like properties. In a neural network model, we show that analogously right-skewed and heavy-tailed synaptic parameters are instrumental to consistently recapitulate the experimental data. Thus, functional and structural parameters in the developing brain are already extremely distributed, suggesting that this organization is preconfigured and not experience dependent.

Keywords: CP: Developmental biology; CP: Neuroscience; development; heavy-tailed; inhibitory synaptic plasticity; neural network modeling; neuropixels; preconfigured; skewed.