Activity-dependent energy budget for neocortical signaling: effect of short-term synaptic plasticity on the energy expended by spiking and synaptic activity

J Neurosci Res. 2012 Nov;90(11):2094-102. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23098. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


The available estimate of the energy expended for signaling in rat neocortex is refined to examine the separate contribution of spiking and synaptic activity as a function of average neuronal firing rate. By taking into account a phenomenological model of short-term synaptic plasticity, we show that the transition from low to high cortical activity is accompanied by a substantial increase in relative energy consumed by action potentials vs. synaptic potentials. This consideration might be important for a deeper understanding of how information is represented in the cortex and which metabolic pathways are upregulated to sustain cortical activity.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology*