Large-scale, high-density (up to 512 channels) recording of local circuits in behaving animals

Monitoring representative fractions of neurons from multiple brain circuits in behaving animals is necessary for understanding neuronal computation. Here we describe a system that allows high channel count recordings from a small volume of neuronal tissue using a lightweight signal multiplexing head-stage that permits free behavior of small rodents. The system integrates multi-shank, high-density recording silicon probes, ultra-flexible interconnects and a miniaturized microdrive. These improvements allowed for simultaneous recordings of local field potentials and unit activity from hundreds of sites without confining free movements of the animal. The advantages of large-scale recordings are illustrated by determining the electro-anatomical boundaries of layers and regions in the hippocampus and neocortex and constructing a circuit diagram of functional connections among neurons in real anatomical space. These methods will allow the investigation of circuit operations and behavior-dependent inter-regional interactions for testing hypotheses of neural networks and brain function.