Neural adaptation facilitates oscillatory responses to static inputs in a recurrent network of ON and OFF cells
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We investigate the role of adaptation in a neural field model, composed of ON and OFF cells, with delayed all-to-all recurrent connections. As external spatially profiled inputs drive the network, ON cells receive inputs directly, while OFF cells receive an inverted image of the original signals. Via global and delayed inhibitory connections, these signals can cause the system to enter states of sustained oscillatory activity. We perform a bifurcation analysis of our model to elucidate how neural adaptation influences the ability of the network to exhibit oscillatory activity. We show that slow adaptation encourages input-induced rhythmic states by decreasing the Andronov–Hopf bifurcation threshold. We further determine how the feedback and adaptation together shape the resonant properties of the ON and OFF cell network and how this affects the response to time-periodic input. By introducing an additional frequency in the system, adaptation alters the resonance frequency by shifting the peaks where the response is maximal. We support these results with numerical experiments of the neural field model. Although developed in the context of the circuitry of the electric sense, these results are applicable to any network of spontaneously firing cells with global inhibitory feedback to themselves, in which a fraction of these cells receive external input directly, while the remaining ones receive an inverted version of this input via feedforward di-synaptic inhibition. Thus the results are relevant beyond the many sensory systems where ON and OFF cells are usually identified, and provide the backbone for understanding dynamical network effects of lateral connections and various forms of ON/OFF responses.