Modeling Spontaneous Episodic Activity in Developing Neuronal Networks

  • Joël TabakEmail author
  • John Rinzel
Part of the Topics in Biomedical Engineering International Book Series book series (ITBE)


Neuronal networks are extraordinarily complex systems, structurally and dynamically, given the number of elements that compose them, their functional architecture, their plasticity, and their nonlinear mechanisms for signaling over vast ranges of time scales. One approach to understanding how neuronal circuits generate activity is to study developing networks that are relatively simpler, before any experienced-based specialization has occurred. Here, we present a model for the generation of spontaneous, episodic activity by developing spinal cord networks. This model only represents the averaged activity and excitability in the network, assumed purely excitatory. In the model, positive feedback through excitatory connections generates episodes of activity, which are terminated by a slow, activity-dependent depression of network activity (slow negative feedback). This idealized model allowed a qualitative understanding of the network dynamics, which leads to prediction/comprehension of experimental observations. Although the complexity of the system has been restricted to interactions between fast positive and slow negative feedback, the emergent feature of the network rhythm was captured, and it applies to many developing/excitatory networks. An open question is whether this mechanism can help us explain the activity of more complex/mature networks including inhibitory connections.


Spontaneous Activity Population Spike Effective Connectivity Synaptic Depression Excitatory Connection 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Neural Control, Section on Developmental Neurobiology, NINDSNational Institutes of HealthBethesda
  2. 2.Courant Institute of Mathematical Science and Center for Neural ScienceNew York UniversityNew York

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