What type of principle features intrinsic inside of the fluctuated input signals could drive neurons with the maximal excitations is one of the crucial neural coding issues. In this article, we examined both experimentally and theoretically the cortical neuronal responsivity (including firing rate and spike timing reliability) to input signals with different intrinsic correlational statistics (e.g., white-type noise, showed 1/f0 power spectrum, pink noise 1/f, and brown noises 1/f2) and different frequency ranges. Our results revealed that the response sensitivity and reliability of cortical neurons is much higher in response to 1/f noise stimuli with long-term correlations than 1/f0 with short-term correlations for a broad frequency range, and also higher than 1/f2 for all frequency ranges. In addition, we found that neuronal sensitivity diverges to opposite directions for 1/f noise comparing with 1/f0 white noise as a function of cutoff frequency of input signal. As the cutoff frequency is progressively increased from 50 to 1,000 Hz, the neuronal responsiveness increased gradually for 1/f noise, while decreased exponentially for white noise. Computational simulations of a general cortical model revealed that, neuronal sensitivity and reliability to input signal statistics was majorly dominated by fast sodium inactivation, potassium activation, and membrane time constants.
Keywords: 1/fβ noise; Hodgkin-Huxley model; cortical neurons; long-term correlation; patch clamp recording; response reliability.