Kinetic models of spike-timing dependent plasticity and their functional consequences in detecting correlations

Quan Zou and Alain Destexhe

Biological Cybernetics 97: 81-97, 2007.

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Abstract

Spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) is a type of synaptic modification found relatively recently, but the underlying biophysical mechanisms are still unclear. Several models of STDP have been proposed, and differ by their implementation, and in particular how synaptic weights saturate to their minimal and maximal values. We analyze here kinetic models of transmitter-receptor interaction and derive a series of STDP models. In general, such kinetic models predict progressive saturation of the weights. Various forms can be obtained depending on the hypotheses made in the kinetic model, and these include a simple linear dependence on the value of the weight ("soft bounds"), mixed soft and abrupt saturation ("hard bound"), or more complex forms. We analyze in more detail simple soft-bound models of Hebbian and anti-Hebbian STDP, in which nonlinear spike interactions (triplets) are taken into account. We show that Hebbian STDP can be used to selectively potentiate synapses that are correlated in time, while anti-Hebbian STDP depress correlated synapses, despite the presence of nonlinear spike interactions. This correlation detection enables neurons to develop a selectivity to correlated inputs. We also examine different versions of kinetics-based STDP models and compare their sensitivity to correlations. We conclude that kinetic models generally predict soft-bound dynamics, and that such models seem ideal for detecting correlations among large numbers of inputs.
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