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The perturbation response and power spectrum of a mean-field of IF neurons with inhomogeneous inputs

The aim of this study is to construct a bottom-up model of cortical dynamics that is capable of describing the same types of neural phenomena as top-down continuum models, namely the power spectrum, frequency response to perturbation and EEG time-series. The key difference between the two approaches is that the bottom-up approach preserves more of the intrinsic physiological details than the top-down models [1]. A stochastic Fokker-Planck modelling approach is used to describe a network of leak integrate-and-fire (IF) neurons with temporally inhomogeneous inputs. Previous work either calculated the response of a single neuron with conductance-based synapses, or the network with current-based synapses [2]. In this study we use and extend a recently published Fokker-Planck approach [3] within an analytical framework to calculate the dynamical firing-rate of a network with conductance-based synapses receiving temporally inhomogeneous synaptic input. In particular, the network has fully recurrent connectivity with both the steady-state and the dynamic perturbation response of the background activity fed back into the inputs. This is done in a self-consistent formalism [4] for a network of excitatory and inhibitory neurons.

The Fokker-Planck formalism enables the calculation of the linear response of the firing-rate to perturbation with recurrent connections. The power spectrum and EEG time-series of the network are calculated by treating the synaptic inputs as an inhomogeneous Poisson process. From this we determine the auto-correlation function, which is identified as a cyclo-stationary process. The signal is then phase-averaged over its period and the Wiener-Khinchin theorem is used to determine the power spectrum from the autocorrelation function. The power spectrum is convolved with a filter to approximate the local field potential propagation through the extra-cellular fluid [5].

The analytical results of the frequency response of the dynamical firing rate and its power spectra are compared with numerical simulation results for a recurrently connected network with conductance-based synapses and temporally inhomogeneous inputs. Results are obtained using parameter values that represent typical cortical in vivo neurons [4]. This work is the first stage necessary for constructing a physiologically plausible mathematical model of a mesoscopic network of cortical columns.


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This work was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage Project #LP0560684).

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Correspondence to Andre DH Peterson.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Peterson, A.D., Meffin, H., Burkitt, A.N. et al. The perturbation response and power spectrum of a mean-field of IF neurons with inhomogeneous inputs. BMC Neurosci 11, P44 (2010).

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  • Power Spectrum
  • Synaptic Input
  • Cortical Column
  • Recurrent Connection
  • Inhomogeneous Poisson Process