Generalized half-center oscillators with short-term synaptic plasticity

Phys Rev E. 2020 Sep;102(3-1):032406. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.102.032406.


How can we develop simple yet realistic models of the small neural circuits known as central pattern generators (CPGs), which contribute to generate complex multiphase locomotion in living animals? In this paper we introduce a new model (with design criteria) of a generalized half-center oscillator, (pools of) neurons reciprocally coupled by fast/slow inhibitory and excitatory synapses, to produce either alternating bursting or other rhythmic patterns, characterized by different phase lags, depending on the sensory or other external input. We also show how to calibrate its parameters, based on both physiological and functional criteria and on bifurcation analysis. This model accounts for short-term neuromodulation in a biophysically plausible way and is a building block to develop more realistic and functionally accurate CPG models. Examples and counterexamples are used to point out the generality and effectiveness of our design approach.

MeSH terms

  • Kinetics
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Synapses / physiology*