In: Thalamus , Edited by Steriade, M., Jones, E.G. and McCormick, D.A., Elsevier, New York, 1997, pp. 331-371
Computational studies have been used to explore the mechanisms of thalamic rhythmicity starting with the seminal model introduced by Andersen and Rutjord (Nature 204: 289-190, 1964), who predicted the significance of inhibition and rebound bursts. Several models of spindle rhythmicity have been proposed recently for the isolated reticular nucleus (Destexhe et al., J. Neurophysiol. 72: 803-818, 1994; Golomb et al., ibid: 1109-1126) as well as for the bidirectional interaction between TC and RE cells (Destexhe et al., Biophys. J. 65: 2474-2478, 1993; J. Neurophysiol. 76: 2049-2070, 1996; Golomb et al., J. Neurophysiol. 75: 750-769, 1996). Without firm ties to experimental measurements, however, these models are difficult to verify. By using computational models based on physiological and biophysical data, it has been possible to generate plausible hypotheses and decisive predictions to test them. We review here here how experimental data from different preparations, sometimes with apparently contrasting results, can be reconciled and used to illuminate different facets of the same framework.