Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 87, Issue 5–6, pp 416–427 | Cite as

Spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity: a phenomenological framework

  • Werner M. Kistler


 In this paper a phenomenological model of spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP) is developed that is based on a Volterra series-like expansion. Synaptic weight changes as a function of the relative timing of pre- and postsynaptic spikes are described by integral kernels that can easily be inferred from experimental data. The resulting weight dynamics can be stated in terms of statistical properties of pre- and postsynaptic spike trains. Generalizations to neurons that fire two different types of action potentials, such as cerebellar Purkinje cells where synaptic plasticity depends on correlations in two distinct presynaptic fibers, are discussed.

We show that synaptic plasticity, together with strictly local bounds for the weights, can result in synaptic competition that is required for any form of pattern formation. This is illustrated by a concrete example where a single neuron equipped with STDP can selectively strengthen those synapses with presynaptic neurons that reliably deliver precisely timed spikes at the expense of other synapses which transmit spikes with a broad temporal distribution. Such a mechanism may be of vital importance for any neuronal system where information is coded in the timing of individual action potentials.


Purkinje Cell Synaptic Plasticity Phenomenological Model Spike Train Single Neuron 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Werner M. Kistler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The NetherlandsNL

Personalised recommendations