Dendritic Effects in Networks of Electrically Coupled Spiking Neurons

Tim Lewis
Center for Neural Science, New York University

(November 25, 2003 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM)

Dendritic Effects in Networks of Electrically Coupled Spiking Neurons

Abstract

Recently, direct electrical coupling between inhibitory neurons has been found to be widespread in the brain. The effects of electrical coupling between neurons has been the focus of much experimental and theoretical work, however the functional role that electrical coupling plays in neuronal networks remains unclear. It has been suggested that electrical coupling can help coordinate synchronous oscillatory behavior in inhibitory networks, which has been hypothesized to be important for sensory and cognitive processes. However, it has been shown that electrical coupling can desynchronize activity as well. Previous theoretical studies have examined the effects of electrical coupling on synchronization patterns between single-compartment model neurons. The applicability of these studies to dynamics in real inhibitory neuronal networks depends on whether or not a single-compartment description is a sufficient model. Single-compartment models neglect the spatial structure of neurons, and when neurons are not sufficiently electrotonically compact, the spatial structure cannot be ignored. In this talk, I will discuss how the spatial structure of neurons (dendritic processing) can affect network dynamics and I will show how the location of electrical coupling influences phase-locking in networks of neurons.