Spatiotemporal pattern formation in neuronal networks depends on the interplay between cellular and network synchronization properties. The neuronal phase response curve (PRC) is an experimentally obtainable measure that characterizes the cellular response to small perturbations, and can serve as an indicator of cellular propensity for synchronization. Two broad classes of PRCs have been identified for neurons: Type I, in which small excitatory perturbations induce only advances in firing, and Type II, in which small excitatory perturbations can induce both advances and delays in firing. Interestingly, neuronal PRCs are usually attenuated with increased spiking frequency, and Type II PRCs typically exhibit a greater attenuation of the phase delay region than of the phase advance region. We found that this phenomenon arises from an interplay between the time constants of active ionic currents and the interspike interval. As a result, excitatory networks consisting of neurons with Type I PRCs responded very differently to frequency modulation compared to excitatory networks composed of neurons with Type II PRCs. Specifically, increased frequency induced a sharp decrease in synchrony of networks of Type II neurons, while frequency increases only minimally affected synchrony in networks of Type I neurons. These results are demonstrated in networks in which both types of neurons were modeled generically with the Morris-Lecar model, as well as in networks consisting of Hodgkin-Huxley-based model cortical pyramidal cells in which simulated effects of acetylcholine changed PRC type. These results are robust to different network structures, synaptic strengths and modes of driving neuronal activity, and they indicate that Type I and Type II excitatory networks may display two distinct modes of processing information.
Synchronization of the firing of neurons in the brain is related to many cognitive functions, such as recognizing faces, discriminating odors, and coordinating movement. It is therefore important to understand what properties of neuronal networks promote synchrony of neural firing. One measure that is often used to determine the contribution of individual neurons to network synchrony is called the phase response curve (PRC). PRCs describe how the timing of neuronal firing changes depending on when input, such as a synaptic signal, is received by the neuron. A characteristic of PRCs that has previously not been well understood is that they change dramatically as the neuron's firing frequency is modulated. This effect carries potential significance, since cognitive functions are often associated with specific frequencies of network activity in the brain. We showed computationally that the frequency dependence of PRCs can be explained by the relative timing of ionic membrane currents with respect to the time between spike firings. Our simulations also showed that the frequency dependence of neuronal PRCs leads to frequency-dependent changes in network synchronization that can be different for different neuron types. These results further our understanding of how synchronization is generated in the brain to support various cognitive functions.
We demonstrate that two key theoretical objects used widely in Computational Neuroscience, the phase-resetting curve (PRC) from dynamics and the spike triggered average (STA) from statistical analysis, are closely related when neurons fire in a nearly regular manner and the stimulus is sufficiently small. We prove that the STA due to injected noisy current is proportional to the derivative of the PRC. We compare these analytic results to numerical calculations for the Hodgkin-Huxley neuron and we apply the method to neurons in the olfactory bulb of mice. This observation allows us to relate the stimulus-response properties of a neuron to its dynamics, bridging the gap between dynamical and information theoretic approaches to understanding brain computations and facilitating the interpretation of changes in channels and other cellular properties as influencing the representation of stimuli.
We review the principal assumptions underlying the application of phase-response curves (PRCs) to synchronization in neuronal networks. The PRC measures how much a given synaptic input perturbs spike timing in a neural oscillator. Among other applications, PRCs make explicit predictions about whether a given network of interconnected neurons will synchronize, as is often observed in cortical structures. Regarding the assumptions of the PRC theory, we conclude: (i) The assumption of noise-tolerant cellular oscillations at or near the network frequency holds in some but not all cases. (ii) Reduced models for PRC-based analysis can be formally related to more realistic models. (iii) Spike-rate adaptation limits PRC-based analysis but does not invalidate it. (iv) The dependence of PRCs on synaptic location emphasizes the importance of improving methods of synaptic stimulation. (v) New methods can distinguish between oscillations that derive from mutual connections and those arising from common drive. (vi) It is helpful to assume linear summation of effects of synaptic inputs; experiments with trains of inputs call this assumption into question. (vii) Relatively subtle changes in network structure can invalidate PRC-based predictions. (viii) Heterogeneity in the preferred frequencies of component neurons does not invalidate PRC analysis, but can annihilate synchronous activity.
neural network; phase-response curve; computational neuroscience
The infinitesimal phase response curve (PRC) of a neural oscillator to a weak input is a powerful predictor of network dynamics; however, many networks have strong coupling and require direct measurement of the PRC for strong inputs under the assumption of pulsatile coupling. We incorporate measured noise levels in firing time maps constructed from PRCs to predict phase-locked modes of activity, phase difference, and locking strength in 78 heterogeneous hybrid networks of 2 neurons constructed using the dynamic clamp. We show that noise may either destroy or stabilize a phase-locked mode of activity.
For the purpose of elucidating the neural coding process based on the neural excitability mechanism, researchers have recently investigated the relationship between neural dynamics and the spike triggered stimulus ensemble (STE). Ermentrout et al. analytically derived the relational equation between the phase response curve (PRC) and the spike triggered average (STA). The STA is the first cumulant of the STE. However, in order to understand the neural function as the encoder more explicitly, it is necessary to elucidate the relationship between the PRC and higher-order cumulants of the STE. In this paper, we give a general formulation to relate the PRC and the nth moment of the STE. By using this formulation, we derive a relational equation between the PRC and the spike triggered covariance (STC), which is the covariance of the STE. We show the effectiveness of the relational equation through numerical simulations and use the equation to identify the feature space of the rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons from their PRCs. Our result suggests that the hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons oscillating in the theta frequency range are commonly sensitive to inputs composed of theta and gamma frequency components.
The ability of spiking neurons to synchronize their activity in a network depends on the response behavior of these neurons as quantified by the phase response curve (PRC) and on coupling properties. The PRC characterizes the effects of transient inputs on spike timing and can be measured experimentally. Here we use the adaptive exponential integrate-and-fire (aEIF) neuron model to determine how subthreshold and spike-triggered slow adaptation currents shape the PRC. Based on that, we predict how synchrony and phase locked states of coupled neurons change in presence of synaptic delays and unequal coupling strengths. We find that increased subthreshold adaptation currents cause a transition of the PRC from only phase advances to phase advances and delays in response to excitatory perturbations. Increased spike-triggered adaptation currents on the other hand predominantly skew the PRC to the right. Both adaptation induced changes of the PRC are modulated by spike frequency, being more prominent at lower frequencies. Applying phase reduction theory, we show that subthreshold adaptation stabilizes synchrony for pairs of coupled excitatory neurons, while spike-triggered adaptation causes locking with a small phase difference, as long as synaptic heterogeneities are negligible. For inhibitory pairs synchrony is stable and robust against conduction delays, and adaptation can mediate bistability of in-phase and anti-phase locking. We further demonstrate that stable synchrony and bistable in/anti-phase locking of pairs carry over to synchronization and clustering of larger networks. The effects of adaptation in aEIF neurons on PRCs and network dynamics qualitatively reflect those of biophysical adaptation currents in detailed Hodgkin-Huxley-based neurons, which underscores the utility of the aEIF model for investigating the dynamical behavior of networks. Our results suggest neuronal spike frequency adaptation as a mechanism synchronizing low frequency oscillations in local excitatory networks, but indicate that inhibition rather than excitation generates coherent rhythms at higher frequencies.
Synchronization of neuronal spiking in the brain is related to cognitive functions, such as perception, attention, and memory. It is therefore important to determine which properties of neurons influence their collective behavior in a network and to understand how. A prominent feature of many cortical neurons is spike frequency adaptation, which is caused by slow transmembrane currents. We investigated how these adaptation currents affect the synchronization tendency of coupled model neurons. Using the efficient adaptive exponential integrate-and-fire (aEIF) model and a biophysically detailed neuron model for validation, we found that increased adaptation currents promote synchronization of coupled excitatory neurons at lower spike frequencies, as long as the conduction delays between the neurons are negligible. Inhibitory neurons on the other hand synchronize in presence of conduction delays, with or without adaptation currents. Our results emphasize the utility of the aEIF model for computational studies of neuronal network dynamics. We conclude that adaptation currents provide a mechanism to generate low frequency oscillations in local populations of excitatory neurons, while faster rhythms seem to be caused by inhibition rather than excitation.
Limit cycle oscillators that are coupled in a pulsatile manner are referred to as pulse coupled oscillators. In these oscillators, the interactions take the form of brief pulses such that the effect of one input dies out before the next is received. A phase resetting curve (PRC) keeps track of how much an input advances or delays the next spike in an oscillatory neuron depending upon where in the cycle the input is applied. PRCs can be used to predict phase locking in networks of pulse coupled oscillators. In some studies of pulse coupled oscillators, a specific form is assumed for the interactions between oscillators, but a more general approach is to formulate the problem assuming a PRC that is generated using a perturbation that approximates the input received in the real biological network. In general, this approach requires that circuit architecture and a specific firing pattern be assumed. This allows the construction of discrete maps from one event to the next. The fixed points of these maps correspond to periodic firing modes and are easier to locate and analyze for stability compared to locating and analyzing periodic modes in the original network directly. Alternatively, maps based on the PRC have been constructed that do not presuppose a firing order. Specific circuits that have been analyzed under the assumption of pulsatile coupling include one to one lockings in a periodically forced oscillator or an oscillator forced at a fixed delay after a threshold event, two bidirectionally coupled oscillators with and without delays, a unidirectional N-ring of oscillators, and N all-to-all networks.
Pulse coupled oscillators; Phase resetting; Phase locking; Synchronization; Splay; Clustering
Synchronization of globus pallidus (GP) neurons and cortically-entrained oscillations between GP and other basal ganglia nuclei are key features of the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease. Phase response curves (PRCs), which tabulate the effects of phasic inputs within a neuron's spike cycle on output spike timing, are efficient tools for predicting the emergence of synchronization in neuronal networks and entrainment to periodic input. In this study we apply physiologically realistic synaptic conductance inputs to a full morphological GP neuron model to determine the phase response properties of the soma and different regions of the dendritic tree. We find that perisomatic excitatory inputs delivered throughout the inter-spike interval advance the phase of the spontaneous spike cycle yielding a type I PRC. In contrast, we demonstrate that distal dendritic excitatory inputs can either delay or advance the next spike depending on whether they occur early or late in the spike cycle. We find this latter pattern of responses, summarized by a biphasic (type II) PRC, was a consequence of dendritic activation of the small conductance calcium-activated potassium current, SK. We also evaluate the spike-frequency dependence of somatic and dendritic PRC shapes, and we demonstrate the robustness of our results to variations of conductance densities, distributions, and kinetic parameters. We conclude that the distal dendrite of GP neurons embodies a distinct dynamical subsystem that could promote synchronization of pallidal networks to excitatory inputs. These results highlight the need to consider different effects of perisomatic and dendritic inputs in the control of network behavior.
dendrite; SK current; synchronization; oscillation; basal ganglia; Parkinson's disease
A phase resetting curve (PRC) keeps track of the extent to which a perturbation at a given phase advances or delays the next spike, and can be used to predict phase locking in networks of oscillators. The PRC can be estimated by convolving the waveform of the perturbation with the infinitesimal PRC (iPRC) under the assumption of weak coupling. The iPRC is often defined with respect to an infinitesimal current as zi(ϕ), where ϕ is phase, but can also be defined with respect to an infinitesimal conductance change as zg(ϕ). In this paper, we first show that the two approaches are equivalent. Coupling waveforms corresponding to synapses with different time courses sample zg(ϕ) in predictably different ways. We show that for oscillators with Type I excitability, an anomalous region in zg(ϕ) with opposite sign to that seen otherwise is often observed during an action potential. If the duration of the synaptic perturbation is such that it effectively samples this region, PRCs with both advances and delays can be observed despite Type I excitability. We also show that changing the duration of a perturbation so that it preferentially samples regions of stable or unstable slopes in zg(ϕ) can stabilize or destabilize synchrony in a network with the corresponding dynamics.
Stochastic signals with pronounced oscillatory components are frequently encountered in neural systems. Input currents to a neuron in the form of stochastic oscillations could be of exogenous origin, e.g. sensory input or synaptic input from a network rhythm. They shape spike firing statistics in a characteristic way, which we explore theoretically in this report. We consider a perfect integrate-and-fire neuron that is stimulated by a constant base current (to drive regular spontaneous firing), along with Gaussian narrow-band noise (a simple example of stochastic oscillations), and a broadband noise. We derive expressions for the nth-order interval distribution, its variance, and the serial correlation coefficients of the interspike intervals (ISIs) and confirm these analytical results by computer simulations. The theory is then applied to experimental data from electroreceptors of paddlefish, which have two distinct types of internal noisy oscillators, one forcing the other. The theory provides an analytical description of their afferent spiking statistics during spontaneous firing, and replicates a pronounced dependence of ISI serial correlation coefficients on the relative frequency of the driving oscillations, and furthermore allows extraction of certain parameters of the intrinsic oscillators embedded in these electroreceptors.
We explore how a neuron responds to a special type of input signal which is oscillatory but noisy (narrow-band noise). These fluctuations could be due to sensory input, due to oscillatory activity of a surrounding network, or due to a natural stimulus. We study theoretically the effects of noisy oscillations on an idealized model neuron, which would otherwise produce as output a series of action potentials at regular intervals. Because our model is comparably simple, we can describe the effects on ISI statistics analytically with formulas that we test against computer simulations of the model. Moreover, we can compare our theoretical predictions to experimental data from electroreceptors of paddlefish - a biological example for spiking neurons that are naturally stimulated by stochastic oscillatory input. In particular, our theory provides a simple explanation of the seemingly complicated patterns of correlations between interspike intervals, that are observed for the electro-afferents in paddlefish; the theory shows also good agreement with respect to other independent spike train statistics. Our findings further the understanding of how nervous activity is shaped by oscillatory noisy signals, which can emerge in the neural networks of the brain, in the sensory periphery, and in the environment.
The phase-resetting curve (PRC) of a neural oscillator describes the effect of a perturbation on its periodic motion and is therefore useful to study how the neuron responds to stimuli and whether it phase locks to other neurons in a network. Combining theory, computer simulations and electrophysiological experiments we present a simple method for estimating the PRC of real neurons. This allows us to simplify the complex dynamics of a single neuron to a phase model. We also illustrate how to infer the existence of coherent network activity from the estimated PRC.
GABAergic interneurons in many areas of the neocortex are mutually connected via chemical and electrical synapses. Previous computational studies have explored how these coupling parameters influence the firing patterns of interneuronal networks. These models have predicted that the stable states of such interneuronal networks will be either synchrony (near zero phase lag) or antisynchrony (phase lag near one-half of the interspike interval), depending on network connectivity and firing rates. In certain parameter regimens, the network can be bistable, settling into either stable state depending on the initial conditions. Here, we investigated how connectivity parameters influence spike patterns in paired recordings from layer I interneurons in brain slices from juvenile mice. Observed properties of chemical and electrical synapses were used to simulate connections between uncoupled cells via dynamic clamp. In uncoupled pairs, action potentials induced by constant depolarizing currents had randomly distributed phase differences between the two cells. When coupled with simulated chemical (inhibitory) synapses, however, these pairs exhibited a bimodal firing pattern, tending to fire either in synchrony or in antisynchrony. Combining electrical with chemical synapses, prolonging τDecay of inhibitory connections, or increasing the firing rate of the network all resulted in enhanced stability of the synchronous state. Thus, electrical and inhibitory synaptic coupling constrain the relative timing of spikes in a two-cell network to, at most, two stable states, the stability and precision of which depend on the exact parameters of coupling.
inhibition; GABAA; gap junctions; synchrony; neocortex; anesthesia
Spike generation in cortical neurons depends on the interplay between diverse intrinsic conductances. The phase response curve (PRC) is a measure of the spike time shift caused by perturbations of the membrane potential as a function of the phase of the spike cycle of a neuron. Near the rheobase, purely positive (type I) phase-response curves are associated with an onset of repetitive firing through a saddle-node bifurcation, whereas biphasic (type II) phase-response curves point towards a transition based on a Hopf-Andronov bifurcation. In recordings from layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in cortical slices, cholinergic action, consistent with down-regulation of slow voltage-dependent potassium currents such as the M-current, switched the PRC from type II to type I. This is the first report showing that cholinergic neuromodulation may cause a qualitative switch in the PRCs type implying a change in the fundamental dynamical mechanism of spike generation.
During the stationary part of neuronal spiking response, the stimulus can be encoded in the firing rate, but also in the statistical structure of the interspike intervals. We propose and discuss two information-based measures of statistical dispersion of the interspike interval distribution, the entropy-based dispersion and Fisher information-based dispersion. The measures are compared with the frequently used concept of standard deviation. It is shown, that standard deviation is not well suited to quantify some aspects of dispersion that are often expected intuitively, such as the degree of randomness. The proposed dispersion measures are not entirely independent, although each describes the interspike intervals from a different point of view. The new methods are applied to common models of neuronal firing and to both simulated and experimental data.
The response of an oscillator to perturbations is described by its phase-response curve (PRC), which is related to the type of bifurcation leading from rest to tonic spiking. In a recent experimental study, we have shown that the type of PRC in cortical pyramidal neurons can be switched by cholinergic neuromodulation from type II (biphasic) to type I (monophasic). We explored how intrinsic mechanisms affected by acetylcholine influence the PRC using three different types of neuronal models: a theta neuron, single-compartment neurons and a multi-compartment neuron. In all of these models a decrease in the amount of a spike-frequency adaptation current was a necessary and sufficient condition for the shape of the PRC to change from biphasic (type II) to purely positive (type I).
Phase response curves; Cortex; Neuromodulation; Muscarine; Acetylcholine; Pyramidal neuron; Conductance-based model; Multi-compartmental model; M-current
Central pattern generators (CPGs) frequently include bursting neurons that serve as pacemakers for rhythm generation. Phase resetting curves (PRCs) can provide insight into mechanisms underlying phase locking in such circuits. PRCs were constructed for a pacemaker bursting complex in the pyloric circuit in the stomatogastric ganglion of the lobster and crab. This complex is comprised of the Anterior Burster (AB) neuron and two Pyloric Dilator (PD) neurons that are all electrically coupled. Artificial excitatory synaptic conductance pulses of different strengths and durations were injected into one of the AB or PD somata using the Dynamic Clamp. Previously, we characterized the inhibitory PRCs by assuming a single slow process that enabled synaptic inputs to trigger switches between an up state in which spiking occurs and a down state in which it does not. Excitation produced five different PRC shapes, which could not be explained with such a simple model. A separate dendritic compartment was required to separate the mechanism that generates the up and down phases of the bursting envelope (1) from synaptic inputs applied at the soma, (2) from axonal spike generation and (3) from a slow process with a slower time scale than burst generation. This study reveals that due to the nonlinear properties and compartmentalization of ionic channels, the response to excitation is more complex than inhibition.
Cerebellar Purkinje cells (PC) in vivo are commonly reported to generate irregular spike trains, documented by high coefficients of variation of interspike-intervals (ISI). In strong contrast, they fire very regularly in the in vitro slice preparation. We studied the nature of this difference in firing properties by focusing on short-term variability and its dependence on behavioral state.
Using an analysis based on CV2 values, we could isolate precise regular spiking patterns, lasting up to hundreds of milliseconds, in PC simple spike trains recorded in both anesthetized and awake rodents. Regular spike patterns, defined by low variability of successive ISIs, comprised over half of the spikes, showed a wide range of mean ISIs, and were affected by behavioral state and tactile stimulation. Interestingly, regular patterns often coincided in nearby Purkinje cells without precise synchronization of individual spikes. Regular patterns exclusively appeared during the up state of the PC membrane potential, while single ISIs occurred both during up and down states. Possible functional consequences of regular spike patterns were investigated by modeling the synaptic conductance in neurons of the deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN). Simulations showed that these regular patterns caused epochs of relatively constant synaptic conductance in DCN neurons.
Our findings indicate that the apparent irregularity in cerebellar PC simple spike trains in vivo is most likely caused by mixing of different regular spike patterns, separated by single long intervals, over time. We propose that PCs may signal information, at least in part, in regular spike patterns to downstream DCN neurons.
A central goal in auditory neuroscience is to understand the neural coding of species-specific communication and human speech sounds. Low-rate repetitive sounds are elemental features of communication sounds, and core auditory cortical regions have been implicated in processing these information-bearing elements. Repetitive sounds could be encoded by at least three neural response properties: 1) the event-locked spike-timing precision, 2) the mean firing rate, and 3) the interspike interval (ISI). To determine how well these response aspects capture information about the repetition rate stimulus, we measured local group responses of cortical neurons in cat anterior auditory field (AAF) to click trains and calculated their mutual information based on these different codes. ISIs of the multiunit responses carried substantially higher information about low repetition rates than either spike-timing precision or firing rate. Combining firing rate and ISI codes was synergistic and captured modestly more repetition information. Spatial distribution analyses showed distinct local clustering properties for each encoding scheme for repetition information indicative of a place code. Diversity in local processing emphasis and distribution of different repetition rate codes across AAF may give rise to concurrent feed-forward processing streams that contribute differently to higher-order sound analysis.
How stable synchrony in neuronal networks is sustained in the presence of conduction delays is an open question. The Dynamic Clamp was used to measure phase resetting curves (PRCs) for entorhinal cortical cells, and then to construct networks of two such neurons. PRCs were in general Type I (all advances or all delays) or weakly type II with a small region at early phases with the opposite type of resetting. We used previously developed theoretical methods based on PRCs under the assumption of pulsatile coupling to predict the delays that synchronize these hybrid circuits. For excitatory coupling, synchrony was predicted and observed only with no delay and for delays greater than half a network period that cause each neuron to receive an input late in its firing cycle and almost immediately fire an action potential. Synchronization for these long delays was surprisingly tight and robust to the noise and heterogeneity inherent in a biological system. In contrast to excitatory coupling, inhibitory coupling led to antiphase for no delay, very short delays and delays close to a network period, but to near-synchrony for a wide range of relatively short delays. PRC-based methods show that conduction delays can stabilize synchrony in several ways, including neutralizing a discontinuity introduced by strong inhibition, favoring synchrony in the case of noisy bistability, and avoiding an initial destabilizing region of a weakly type II PRC. PRCs can identify optimal conduction delays favoring synchronization at a given frequency, and also predict robustness to noise and heterogeneity.
Individual oscillators, such as pendulum-based clocks and fireflies, can spontaneously organize into a coherent, synchronized entity with a common frequency. Neurons can oscillate under some circumstances, and can synchronize their firing both within and across brain regions. Synchronized assemblies of neurons are thought to underlie cognitive functions such as recognition, recall, perception and attention. Pathological synchrony can lead to epilepsy, tremor and other dynamical diseases, and synchronization is altered in most mental disorders. Biological neurons synchronize despite conduction delays, heterogeneous circuit composition, and noise. In biological experiments, we built simple networks in which two living neurons could interact via a computer in real time. The computer precisely controlled the nature of the connectivity and the length of the communication delays. We characterized the synchronization tendencies of individual, isolated oscillators by measuring how much a single input delivered by the computer transiently shortened or lengthened the cycle period of the oscillation. We then used this information to correctly predict the strong dependence of the coordination pattern of the firing of the component neurons on the length of the communication delays. Upon this foundation, we can begin to build a theory of the basic principles of synchronization in more complex brain circuits.
Phase response curves (PRCs) have been widely used to study synchronization in neural circuits comprised of pacemaking neurons. They describe how the timing of the next spike in a given spontaneously firing neuron is affected by the phase at which an input from another neuron is received. Here we study two reciprocally coupled clusters of pulse coupled oscillatory neurons. The neurons within each cluster are presumed to be identical and identically pulse coupled, but not necessarily identical to those in the other cluster. We investigate a two cluster solution in which all oscillators are synchronized within each cluster, but in which the two clusters are phase locked at nonzero phase with each other. Intuitively, one might expect this solution to be stable only when synchrony within each isolated cluster is stable, but this is not the case. We prove rigorously the stability of the two cluster solution and show how reciprocal coupling can stabilize synchrony within clusters that cannot synchronize in isolation. These stability results for the two cluster solution suggest a mechanism by which reciprocal coupling between brain regions can induce local synchronization via the network feedback loop.
neuronal networks; synchronization; clustering; phase response curves; pulse coupled oscillators
We have combined neurophysiologic recording, statistical analysis, and computational modeling to investigate the dynamics of the respiratory network in the brainstem. Using a multielectrode array, we recorded ensembles of respiratory neurons in perfused in situ rat preparations that produce spontaneous breathing patterns, focusing on inspiratory pre-motor neurons. We compared firing rates and neuronal synchronization among these neurons before and after a brief hypoxic stimulus. We observed a significant decrease in the number of spikes after stimulation, in part due to a transient slowing of the respiratory pattern. However, the median interspike interval did not change, suggesting that the firing threshold of the neurons was not affected but rather the synaptic input was. A bootstrap analysis of synchrony between spike trains revealed that both before and after brief hypoxia, up to 45% (but typically less than 5%) of coincident spikes across neuronal pairs was not explained by chance. Most likely, this synchrony resulted from common synaptic input to the pre-motor population, an example of stochastic synchronization. After brief hypoxia most pairs were less synchronized, although some were more, suggesting that the respiratory network was transiently “rewired” after the stimulus. To investigate this hypothesis, we created a simple computational model with feed-forward divergent connections along the inspiratory pathway. Assuming that (1) the number of divergent projections was not the same for all presynaptic cells, but rather spanned a wide range and (2) that the stimulus increased inhibition at the top of the network; this model reproduced the reduction in firing rate and bootstrap-corrected synchrony subsequent to hypoxic stimulation observed in our experimental data.
neural control of respiration; working heart brainstem preparation; hypoxia; spike synchronization; bootstrap analysis; neural network simulation
Gamma oscillations can synchronize with near zero phase lag over multiple cortical regions and between hemispheres, and between two distal sites in hippocampal slices. How synchronization can take place over long distances in a stable manner is considered an open question. The phase resetting curve (PRC) keeps track of how much an input advances or delays the next spike, depending upon where in the cycle it is received. We use PRCs under the assumption of pulsatile coupling to derive existence and stability criteria for 1:1 phase-locking that arises via bidirectional pulse coupling of two limit cycle oscillators with a conduction delay of any duration for any 1:1 firing pattern. The coupling can be strong as long as the effect of one input dissipates before the next input is received. We show the form that the generic synchronous and anti-phase solutions take in a system of two identical, identically pulse-coupled oscillators with identical delays. The stability criterion has a simple form that depends only on the slopes of the PRCs at the phases at which inputs are received and on the number of cycles required to complete the delayed feedback loop. The number of cycles required to complete the delayed feedback loop depends upon both the value of the delay and the firing pattern. We successfully tested the predictions of our methods on networks of model neurons. The criteria can easily be extended to include the effect of an input on the cycle after the one in which it is received.
This paper examines how noise interacts with the non-linear dynamical mechanisms of neuronal stimulus. We study the spike trains generated by a minimal Hodgkin-Huxley type model of a cold receptor neuron. The distributions of interspike intervals(ISIs) of purely deterministic simulations exhibit considerable differences compared to the noisy ones. We quantify the effect of noise using ISI return plots and the ISI-distance recently proposed by Kreuz et al. (J Neurosci Meth, 165:151–161, 2007). It is shown that the spike trains of a cold receptor neuron are more strongly affected by noise for low temperatures than for high temperatures. This trend is also observed in both regimes of cold receptors: tonic firing(which occurs for low and high temperatures) and bursting (which occurs for intermediate temperatures).
Neural spike train; ISI-distance; Noise; Cold receptor model
A neuron’s phase response curve (PRC) shows how inputs arriving at different times during the spike cycle differentially affect the timing of subsequent spikes. Using a full morphological model of a globus pallidus (GP) neuron, we previously demonstrated that dendritic conductances shape the PRC in a spike frequency dependent manner, suggesting different functional roles of perisomatic and distal dendritic synapses in the control of patterned network activity. In the present study we extend this analysis to examine the impact of physiologically realistic high conductance states on somatic and dendritic PRCs and the time course of spike train perturbations. First, we found that average somatic and dendritic PRCs preserved their shapes and spike frequency dependence when the model was driven by spatially-distributed, stochastic conductance inputs rather than tonic somatic current. However, responses to inputs during specific synaptic backgrounds often deviated substantially from the average PRC. Therefore, we analyzed the interactions of PRC stimuli with transient fluctuations in the synaptic background on a trial-by-trial basis. We found that the variability in responses to PRC stimuli and the incidence of stimulus-evoked added or skipped spikes were stimulus-phase-dependent and reflected the profile of the average PRC, suggesting commonality in the underlying mechanisms. Clear differences in the relation between the phase of input and variability of spike response between dendritic and somatic inputs indicate that theses regions generally represent distinct dynamical subsystems of synaptic integration with respect to influencing the stability of spike time attractors generated by the overall synaptic conductance.
phase response curve (PRC); high conductance state; stochastic synaptic background; spike time attractor; dendrite; SK current; synchronization; oscillation
Networks of model neurons were constructed and their activity was predicted using an iterated map based solely on the phase resetting curves (PRCs). The predictions were quite accurate provided that the resetting to simultaneous inputs was calculated using the sum of the simultaneously active conductances, obviating the need for weak coupling assumptions. Fully synchronous activity was observed only when the slope of the PRC at a phase of zero, corresponding to spike initiation, was positive. A novel stability criterion was developed and tested for all to all networks of identical, identically connected neurons. When the PRC generated using N-1 simultaneously active inputs becomes too steep, the fully synchronous mode loses stability in a network of N model neurons. Therefore, the stability of synchrony can be lost by increasing the slope of this PRC either by increasing the network size or the strength of the individual synapses. Existence and stability criteria were also developed and tested for the splay mode in which neurons fire sequentially. Finally, N/M synchronous sub-clusters of M neurons were predicted using the intersection of parameters that supported both between cluster splay and within cluster synchrony. Surprisingly, the splay mode between clusters could enforce synchrony on sub-clusters that were incapable of synchronizing themselves. These results can be used to gain insights into the activity of networks of biological neurons whose PRCs can be measured.
Network; Synchronization; Oscillator; Rhythm; Phase shift; Synchrony