To determine why elements of central pattern generators phase lock in a particular pattern under some conditions but not others, we tested a theoretical pattern prediction method. The method is based on the tabulated open loop pulsatile interactions of bursting neurons on a cycle-by-cycle basis and was tested in closed loop hybrid circuits composed of one bursting biological neuron and one bursting model neuron coupled using the dynamic clamp. A total of 164 hybrid networks were formed by varying the synaptic conductances. The prediction of 1:1 phase locking agreed qualitatively with the experimental observations, except in three hybrid circuits in which 1:1 locking was predicted but not observed. Correct predictions sometimes required consideration of the second order phase resetting, which measures the change in the timing of the second burst after the perturbation. The method was robust to offsets between the initiation of bursting in the presynaptic neuron and the activation of the synaptic coupling with the postsynaptic neuron. The quantitative accuracy of the predictions fell within the variability (10%) in the experimentally observed intrinsic period and phase resetting curve (PRC), despite changes in the burst duration of the neurons between open and closed loop conditions.
Copyright 2004 Biophysical Society