A review of the integrate-and-fire neuron model: II. Inhomogeneous synaptic input and network properties

Biol Cybern. 2006 Aug;95(2):97-112. doi: 10.1007/s00422-006-0082-8. Epub 2006 Jul 5.


The integrate-and-fire neuron model describes the state of a neuron in terms of its membrane potential, which is determined by the synaptic inputs and the injected current that the neuron receives. When the membrane potential reaches a threshold, an action potential (spike) is generated. This review considers the model in which the synaptic input varies periodically and is described by an inhomogeneous Poisson process, with both current and conductance synapses. The focus is on the mathematical methods that allow the output spike distribution to be analyzed, including first passage time methods and the Fokker-Planck equation. Recent interest in the response of neurons to periodic input has in part arisen from the study of stochastic resonance, which is the noise-induced enhancement of the signal-to-noise ratio. Networks of integrate-and-fire neurons behave in a wide variety of ways and have been used to model a variety of neural, physiological, and psychological phenomena. The properties of the integrate-and-fire neuron model with synaptic input described as a temporally homogeneous Poisson process are reviewed in an accompanying paper (Burkitt in Biol Cybern, 2006).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission