Gating multiple signals through detailed balance of excitation and inhibition in spiking networks

Nat Neurosci. 2009 Apr;12(4):483-91. doi: 10.1038/nn.2276. Epub 2009 Mar 22.


Recent theoretical work has provided a basic understanding of signal propagation in networks of spiking neurons, but mechanisms for gating and controlling these signals have not been investigated previously. Here we introduce an idea for the gating of multiple signals in cortical networks that combines principles of signal propagation with aspects of balanced networks. Specifically, we studied networks in which incoming excitatory signals are normally cancelled by locally evoked inhibition, leaving the targeted layer unresponsive. Transmission can be gated 'on' by modulating excitatory and inhibitory gains to upset this detailed balance. We illustrate gating through detailed balance in large networks of integrate-and-fire neurons. We show successful gating of multiple signals and study failure modes that produce effects reminiscent of clinically observed pathologies. Provided that the individual signals are detectable, detailed balance has a large capacity for gating multiple signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Ion Channel Gating
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*