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Daniel Tranchina

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Journal Articles

Publisher: Journals Gateway

*Neural Computation*(2009) 21 (2): 360–396.

Published: 01 February 2009

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In the probability density function (PDF) approach to neural network modeling, a common simplifying assumption is that the arrival times of elementary postsynaptic events are governed by a Poisson process. This assumption ignores temporal correlations in the input that sometimes have important physiological consequences. We extend PDF methods to models with synaptic event times governed by any modulated renewal process. We focus on the integrate-and-fire neuron with instantaneous synaptic kinetics and a random elementary excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP), A . Between presynaptic events, the membrane voltage, v , decays exponentially toward rest, while s , the time since the last synaptic input event, evolves with unit velocity. When a synaptic event arrives, v jumps by A , and s is reset to zero. If v crosses the threshold voltage, an action potential occurs, and v is reset to v reset . The probability per unit time of a synaptic event at time t , given the elapsed time s since the last event, h ( s , t ), depends on specifics of the renewal process. We study how regularity of the train of synaptic input events affects output spike rate, PDF and coefficient of variation (CV) of the interspike interval, and the autocorrelation function of the output spike train. In the limit of a deterministic, clocklike train of input events, the PDF of the interspike interval converges to a sum of delta functions, with coefficients determined by the PDF for A . The limiting autocorrelation function of the output spike train is a sum of delta functions whose coefficients fall under a damped oscillatory envelope. When the EPSP CV, σ A /μ A , is equal to 0.45, a CV for the intersynaptic event interval, σ T /μ T = 0.35 , is functionally equivalent to a deterministic periodic train of synaptic input events (CV = 0) with respect to spike statistics. We discuss the relevance to neural network simulations.

Journal Articles

Publisher: Journals Gateway

*Neural Computation*(2007) 19 (8): 2032–2092.

Published: 01 August 2007

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Computational techniques within the population density function (PDF) framework have provided time-saving alternatives to classical Monte Carlo simulations of neural network activity. Efficiency of the PDF method is lost as the underlying neuron model is made more realistic and the number of state variables increases. In a detailed theoretical and computational study, we elucidate strengths and weaknesses of dimension reduction by a particular moment closure method (Cai, Tao, Shelley, & McLaughlin, 2004; Cai, Tao, Rangan, & McLaughlin, 2006) as applied to integrate-and-fire neurons that receive excitatory synaptic input only. When the unitary postsynaptic conductance event has a single-exponential time course, the evolution equation for the PDF is a partial differential integral equation in two state variables, voltage and excitatory conductance. In the moment closure method, one approximates the conditional k th centered moment of excitatory conductance given voltage by the corresponding unconditioned moment. The result is a system of k coupled partial differential equations with one state variable, voltage, and k coupled ordinary differential equations. Moment closure at k = 2 works well, and at k = 3 works even better, in the regime of high dynamically varying synaptic input rates. Both closures break down at lower synaptic input rates. Phase-plane analysis of the k = 2 problem with typical parameters proves, and reveals why, no steady-state solutions exist below a synaptic input rate that gives a firing rate of 59 s −1 in the full 2D problem. Closure at k = 3 fails for similar reasons. Low firing-rate solutions can be obtained only with parameters for the amplitude or kinetics (or both) of the unitary postsynaptic conductance event that are on the edge of the physiological range. We conclude that this dimension-reduction method gives ill-posed problems for a wide range of physiological parameters, and we suggest future directions.

Journal Articles

Publisher: Journals Gateway

*Neural Computation*(2001) 13 (3): 511–546.

Published: 01 March 2001

Abstract

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A previously developed method for efficiently simulating complex networks of integrate-and-fire neurons was specialized to the case in which the neurons have fast unitary postsynaptic conductances. However, inhibitory synaptic conductances are often slower than excitatory ones for cortical neurons, and this difference can have a profound effect on network dynamics that cannot be captured with neurons that have only fast synapses. We thus extend the model to include slow inhibitory synapses. In this model, neurons are grouped into large populations of similar neurons. For each population, we calculate the evolution of a probability density function (PDF), which describes the distribution of neurons over state-space. The population firing rate is given by the flux of probability across the threshold voltage for firing an action potential. In the case of fast synaptic conductances, the PDF was one-dimensional, as the state of a neuron was completely determined by its transmembrane voltage. An exact extension to slow inhibitory synapses increases the dimension of the PDF to two or three, as the state of a neuron now includes the state of its inhibitory synaptic conductance. However, by assuming that the expected value of a neuron's inhibitory conductance is independent of its voltage, we derive a reduction to a one-dimensional PDF and avoid increasing the computational complexity of the problem. We demonstrate that although this assumption is not strictly valid, the results of the reduced model are surprisingly accurate.