Complex Dynamics in Simplified Neuronal Models: Reproducing Golgi Cell Electroresponsiveness

Front Neuroinform. 2018 Dec 3;12:88. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2018.00088. eCollection 2018.

Abstract

Brain neurons exhibit complex electroresponsive properties - including intrinsic subthreshold oscillations and pacemaking, resonance and phase-reset - which are thought to play a critical role in controlling neural network dynamics. Although these properties emerge from detailed representations of molecular-level mechanisms in "realistic" models, they cannot usually be generated by simplified neuronal models (although these may show spike-frequency adaptation and bursting). We report here that this whole set of properties can be generated by the extended generalized leaky integrate-and-fire (E-GLIF) neuron model. E-GLIF derives from the GLIF model family and is therefore mono-compartmental, keeps the limited computational load typical of a linear low-dimensional system, admits analytical solutions and can be tuned through gradient-descent algorithms. Importantly, E-GLIF is designed to maintain a correspondence between model parameters and neuronal membrane mechanisms through a minimum set of equations. In order to test its potential, E-GLIF was used to model a specific neuron showing rich and complex electroresponsiveness, the cerebellar Golgi cell, and was validated against experimental electrophysiological data recorded from Golgi cells in acute cerebellar slices. During simulations, E-GLIF was activated by stimulus patterns, including current steps and synaptic inputs, identical to those used for the experiments. The results demonstrate that E-GLIF can reproduce the whole set of complex neuronal dynamics typical of these neurons - including intensity-frequency curves, spike-frequency adaptation, post-inhibitory rebound bursting, spontaneous subthreshold oscillations, resonance, and phase-reset - providing a new effective tool to investigate brain dynamics in large-scale simulations.

Keywords: Golgi cell; cerebellum; leaky integrate-and-fire; model simplification; neuronal electroresponsiveness; neuronal modeling; point neuron.