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Supralinear reliability of cortical spiking from synchronous thalamic inputs

Thalamic and cortical V1 layer 4 neurons are capable of firing highly reliably and precisely upon repeated presentations of the same visual stimulus to the retina. To compare candidate causal mechanisms of spike-time reliability, a reconstructed multicompartment spiny stellate cell model with dynamic stochastic synapses was given varying synaptic inputs. We found reliability was primarily influenced by the number of synapses that fired synchronously during events (synchrony magnitude), which exhibits a supralinear relation; rather than by the rate of synchronous firing events (event rate) or synaptic strength, which exhibits comparatively more linear relations, even in the absence of voltage dependent conductances. Supralinear reliability highlights the efficacy of synchronous but weak synapses in driving output spiking, and may have implications for neural synchronicity within and between cortical areas.

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Correspondence to Wang Hsi-Ping.

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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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Hsi-Ping, W., Fellous, JM., Spencer, D. et al. Supralinear reliability of cortical spiking from synchronous thalamic inputs. BMC Neurosci 8 (Suppl 2), P130 (2007).

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  • Animal Model
  • Visual Stimulus
  • Event Rate
  • Linear Relation
  • Cell Model