We present a new technique for calculating the interspike intervals of integrate-and-fire neurons. There are two new components to this technique. First, the probability density of the summed potential is calculated by integrating over the distribution of arrival times of the afferent post-synaptic potentials (PSPs), rather than using conventional stochastic differential equation techniques. A general formulation of this technique is given in terms of the probability distribution of the inputs and the time course of the postsynaptic response. The expressions are evaluated in the gaussian approximation, which gives results that become more accurate for large numbers of small-amplitude PSPs. Second, the probability density of output spikes, which are generated when the potential reaches threshold, is given in terms of an integral involving a conditional probability density. This expression is a generalization of the renewal equation, but it holds for both leaky neurons and situations in which there is no time-translational invariance. The conditional probability density of the potential is calculated using the same technique of integrating over the distribution of arrival times of the afferent PSPs. For inputs with a Poisson distribution, the known analytic solutions for both the perfect integrator model and the Stein model (which incorporates membrane potential leakage) in the diffusion limit are obtained. The interspike interval distribution may also be calculated numerically for models that incorporate both membrane potential leakage and a finite rise time of the postsynaptic response. Plots of the relationship between input and output firing rates, as well as the coefficient of variation, are given, and inputs with varying rates and amplitudes, including inhibitory inputs, are analyzed. The results indicate that neurons functioning near their critical threshold, where the inputs are just sufficient to cause firing, display a large variability in their spike timings.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.