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IPM
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“School of Cognitive Sciences”

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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 15484
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Dendritic and Axonal Propagation Delays May Shape Neuronal Networks With Plastic Synapses
  Author(s): 
1.  M. Madadi Asl
2.  A. Valizadeh
3.  P. Tass
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Frontiers in Physiology
  Vol.:  9
  Year:  2018
  Pages:   1-8
  Supported by:  IPM
  Abstract:
Biological neuronal networks are highly adaptive and plastic. For instance, spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) is a core mechanism which adapts the synaptic strengths based on the relative timing of pre- and postsynaptic spikes. In various fields of physiology, time delays cause a plethora of biologically relevant dynamical phenomena. However, time delays increase the complexity of model systems together with the computational and theoretical analysis burden. Accordingly, in computational neuronal network studies propagation delays were often neglected. As a downside, a classic STDP rule in oscillatory neurons without propagation delays is unable to give rise to bidirectional synaptic couplings, i.e., loops or uncoupled states. This is at variance with basic experimental results. In this mini review, we focus on recent theoretical studies focusing on how things change in the presence of propagation delays. Realistic propagation delays may lead to the emergence of neuronal activity and synaptic connectivity patterns, which cannot be captured by classic STDP models. In fact, propagation delays determine the inventory of attractor states and shape their basins of attractions. The results reviewed here enable to overcome fundamental discrepancies between theory and experiments. Furthermore, these findings are relevant for the development of therapeutic brain stimulation techniques aiming at shifting the diseased brain to more favorable attractor states.

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