Bistability and spatiotemporal irregularity in neuronal networks with nonlinear synaptic transmission

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Apr 13;108(15):158101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.158101. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


We present a mean-field theory for spiking networks operating in the balanced excitation-inhibition regime, with synapses displaying short-term plasticity. The theory reveals a novel mechanism for bistability which relies on the nonlinearity of the synaptic interactions. As synaptic nonlinearity is mainly controlled by the spiking rates, the different states are stabilized by dynamically generated changes in the noise level. Thus, in both states, the network operates in the fluctuation-driven regime, producing activity patterns characterized by strong spatiotemporal irregularity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*