Finding the Key to a Synapse

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 13 (NIPS 2000)

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Thomas Natschl├Ąger, Wolfgang Maass


Experimental data have shown that synapses are heterogeneous: different synapses respond with different sequences of amplitudes of postsynaptic responses to the same spike train. Neither the role of synaptic dynamics itself nor the role of the heterogeneity of synaptic dynamics for com(cid:173) putations in neural circuits is well understood. We present in this article methods that make it feasible to compute for a given synapse with known synaptic parameters the spike train that is optimally fitted to the synapse, for example in the sense that it produces the largest sum of postsynap(cid:173) tic responses. To our surprise we find that most of these optimally fitted spike trains match common firing patterns of specific types of neurons that are discussed in the literature.