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Of all publications in the section: 4
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Article
Gutkin B., Zeldenrust F., de Knecht S. et al. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2017. No. 11. P. 1-15.

Understanding the relation between (sensory) stimuli and the activity of neurons (i.e., "the neural code") lies at heart of understanding the computational properties of the brain. However, quantifying the information between a stimulus and a spike train has proven to be challenging. We propose a new (in vitro) method to measure how much information a single neuron transfers from the input it receives to its output spike train. The input is generated by an artificial neural network that responds to a randomly appearing and disappearing "sensory stimulus": the hidden state. The sum of this network activity is injected as current input into the neuron under investigation. The mutual information between the hidden state on the one hand and spike trains of the artificial network or the recorded spike train on the other hand can easily be estimated due to the binary shape of the hidden state. The characteristics of the input current, such as the time constant as a result of the (dis)appearance rate of the hidden state or the amplitude of the input current (the firing frequency of the neurons in the artificial network), can independently be varied. As an example, we apply this method to pyramidal neurons in the CA1 of mouse hippocampi and compare the recorded spike trains to the optimal response of the "Bayesian neuron" (BN). We conclude that like in the BN, information transfer in hippocampal pyramidal cells is non-linear and amplifying: the information loss between the artificial input and the output spike train is high if the input to the neuron (the firing of the artificial network) is not very informative about the hidden state. If the input to the neuron does contain a lot of information about the hidden state, the information loss is low. Moreover, neurons increase their firing rates in case the (dis)appearance rate is high, so that the (relative) amount of transferred information stays constant.

Added: Dec 18, 2017
Article
Oster A., Faure P., Gutkin B. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2015. Vol. 9. No. JULY, Article number 95.

Midbrain ventral segmental area (VTA) dopaminergic neurons send numerous projections to cortical and sub-cortical areas, and diffusely release dopamine (DA) to their targets. DA neurons display a range of activity modes that vary in frequency and degree of burst firing. Importantly, DA neuronal bursting is associated with a significantly greater degree of DA release than an equivalent tonic activity pattern. Here, we introduce a single compartmental, conductance-based computational model for DA cell activity that captures the behavior of DA neuronal dynamics and examine the multiple factors that underlie DA firing modes: the strength of the SK conductance, the amount of drive, and GABA inhibition. Our results suggest that neurons with low SK conductance fire in a fast firing mode, are correlated with burst firing, and require higher levels of applied current before undergoing depolarization block. We go on to consider the role of GABAergic inhibition on an ensemble of dynamical classes of DA neurons and find that strong GABA inhibition suppresses burst firing. Our studies suggest differences in the distribution of the SK conductance and GABA inhibition levels may indicate subclasses of DA neurons within the VTA. We further identify, that by considering alternate potassium dynamics, the dynamics display burst patterns that terminate via depolarization block, akin to those observed in vivo in VTA DA neurons and in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) DA cell preparations under apamin application. In addition, we consider the generation of transient burst firing events that are NMDA-initiated or elicited by a sudden decrease of GABA inhibition, that is, disinhibition. © 2015 Oster, Faure and Gutkin.

Added: Oct 7, 2015
Article
Zakharov D., Lapish C., Gutkin B. et al. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2016. Vol. 10. No. 48. P. 1-11.

Dopaminergic (DA) neurons display two modes of firing: low-frequency tonic and high-frequency bursts. The high frequency firing within the bursts is attributed to NMDA, but not AMPA receptor activation. In our models of the DA neuron, both biophysical and abstract, the NMDA receptor current can significantly increase their firing frequency, whereas the AMPA receptor current is not able to evoke high-frequency activity and usually suppresses firing. However, both currents are produced by glutamate receptors and, consequently, are often co-activated. Here we consider combined influence of AMPA and NMDA synaptic input in the models of the DA neuron. Different types of neuronal activity (resting state, low frequency, or high frequency firing) are observed depending on the conductance of the AMPAR and NMDAR currents. In two models, biophysical and reduced, we show that the firing frequency increases more effectively if both receptors are co-activated for certain parameter values. In particular, in the more quantitative biophysical model, the maximal frequency is 40% greater than that with NMDAR alone. The dynamical mechanism of such frequency growth is explained in the framework of phase space evolution using the reduced model. In short, both the AMPAR and NMDAR currents flatten the voltage nullcline, providing the frequency increase, whereas only NMDA prevents complete unfolding of the nullcline, providing robust firing. Thus, we confirm a major role of the NMDAR in generating high-frequency firing and conclude that AMPAR activation further significantly increases the frequency.

Added: Oct 4, 2018
Article
Gutkin B., Lapish C., Kuznetsov A. et al. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. 2016. Vol. 10. No. 48.

Dopaminergic (DA) neurons display two modes of firing: low-frequency tonic and high-frequency bursts. The high frequency firing within the bursts is attributed to NMDA, but not AMPA receptor activation. In our models of the DA neuron, both biophysical and abstract, the NMDA receptor current can significantly increase their firing frequency, whereas the AMPA receptor current is not able to evoke high-frequency activity and usually suppresses firing. However, both currents are produced by glutamate receptors and, consequently, are often co-activated. Here we consider combined influence of AMPA and NMDA synaptic input in the models of the DA neuron. Different types of neuronal activity (resting state, low frequency, or high frequency firing) are observed depending on the conductance of the AMPAR and NMDAR currents. In two models, biophysical and reduced, we show that the firing frequency increases more effectively if both receptors are co-activated for certain parameter values. In particular, in the more quantitative biophysical model, the maximal frequency is 40% greater than that with NMDAR alone. The dynamical mechanism of such frequency growth is explained in the framework of phase space evolution using the reduced model. In short, both the AMPAR and NMDAR currents flatten the voltage nullcline, providing the frequency increase, whereas only NMDA prevents complete unfolding of the nullcline, providing robust firing. Thus, we confirm a major role of the NMDAR in generating high-frequency firing and conclude that AMPAR activation further significantly increases the frequency.

Added: Jul 26, 2016