Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

2015 Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

Neuromodulation in Small Networks

  • Alex H. Williams
  • Albert W. Hamood
  • Eve Marder
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6675-8_26


Neuromodulators are signaling molecules that induce long-lasting or network-wide changes in electrical activity, canonically through metabotropic G-coupled protein receptors. In contrast to classical neurotransmission, which directly opens ion channels, neuromodulators can act either synaptically or extra-synaptically (e.g., hormonal pathways) to modify neuronal activity. Because neuromodulators can simultaneously target many neurons, our understanding of their function on networks has progressed furthest in small systems with known connectivity. In particular, much research has been conducted within invertebrate central pattern generator (CPG) networks. These networks exhibit spontaneous electrical discharges that drive rhythmic muscle contractions to produce simple behaviors such as chewing, breathing, and locomotion.

Detailed Description

Neuromodulation, while often receiving less attention than direct synaptic communication between neurons, is a vital and ubiquitous...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex H. Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  • Albert W. Hamood
    • 2
  • Eve Marder
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  2. 2.Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA