Synaptic currents, neuromodulation and kinetic models

Alain Destexhe, Zachary F. Mainen and Terrence J. Sejnowski

In: The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks, M.A. Arbib (Ed), MIT Press, p. 956-959, 1995.

PDF copy of the paper


Synaptic interactions are essential to neural network models of all levels of complexity. Synaptic interactions in ``realistic'' network models pose a particular challenge, since the aim is not to only to capture the essence of synaptic mechanisms, but also to do so in a computationally efficient manner to facilitate simulations of large networks. In this paper, we review several types of models which address these goals.

Synaptic currents are mediated by ion channels activated by neurotransmitter released from presynaptic terminals. Kinetic models are a powerful formalism for the description of channel behavior, and are therefore well-suited to the description of synaptic interactions, both traditional and neuromodulatory. Although full representation of the molecular details of the synapse generally requires highly complex kinetic models, we focus on simpler kinetic models which are very efficient to compute. We show how these models capture the time courses of several types of synaptic responses as well as the important phenomena of summation, saturation and desensitization.

NEURON demo:

This tar file creates a directory containing a demo for running the models of synaptic receptors using the Interviews version of the NEURON simulator. The simulation reproduce the figures of the Neural Computation paper and the J. Comput. Neurosci. paper , in which all details are given.

See also SYN.ZIP. This package shows how to implement biophysical models of synaptic interactions using NEURON. Both detailed and simplified models of synaptic currents and most useful types of postsynaptic receptors (AMPA, NMDA, GABA_A, GABA_B, neuromodulators) are described in a reference paper. We provide here the complement to simulate the same models using NEURON. The reference paper is a chapter in the book "Methods in Neuronal Modeling":

Destexhe, A., Mainen, Z.F. and Sejnowski, T.J.
Kinetic models of synaptic transmission.
In: Methods in Neuronal Modeling , 2nd Edition, Edited by Koch, C. and Segev, I., MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998, pp. 1-25.

in which all details are given. More instructions are provided in a README file.

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