, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 245-261

The Activity Phase of Postsynaptic Neurons in a Simplified Rhythmic Network

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Abstract

Many inhibitory rhythmic networks produce activity in a range of frequencies. The relative phase of activity between neurons in these networks is often a determinant of the network output. This relative phase is determined by the interaction between synaptic inputs to the neurons and their intrinsic properties. We show, in a simplified network consisting of an oscillator inhibiting a follower neuron, how the interaction between synaptic depression and a transient potassium current in the follower neuron determines the activity phase of this neuron. We derive a mathematical expression to determine at what phase of the oscillation the follower neuron becomes active. This expression can be used to understand which parameters determine the phase of activity of the follower as the frequency of the oscillator is changed. We show that in the presence of synaptic depression, there can be three distinct frequency intervals, in which the phase of the follower neuron is determined by different sets of parameters. Alternatively, when the synapse is not depressing, only one set of parameters determines the phase of activity at all frequencies.