We analyze neuron models in which the maximal conductances of membrane currents are slowly varying dynamic variables regulated by the intracellular calcium concentration. These models allow us to study possible activity-dependent effects arising from processes that maintain and modify membrane channels in real neurons. Regulated model neurons maintain a constant average level of activity over a wide range of conditions by appropriately adjusting their conductances. The intracellular calcium concentration acts as a feedback element linking maximal conductances to electrical activity. The resulting plasticity of intrinsic characteristics has important implications for network behavior. We first study a simple two-conductance model, then introduce techniques that allow us to analyze dynamic regulation with an arbitrary number of conductances, and finally illustrate this method by studying a seven-conductance model. We conclude with an analysis of spontaneous differentiation of identical model neurons in a two-cell network.

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