A Model of Stimulus-Specific Neural Assemblies in the Insect Antennal Lobe

Dominique Martinez, Noelia Montejo, Karl J. Friston
2008 PLoS Computational Biology  
It has been proposed that synchronized neural assemblies in the antennal lobe of insects encode the identity of olfactory stimuli. In response to an odor, some projection neurons exhibit synchronous firing, phase-locked to the oscillations of the field potential, whereas others do not. Experimental data indicate that neural synchronization and field oscillations are induced by fast GABA A -type inhibition, but it remains unclear how desynchronization occurs. We hypothesize that slow inhibition
more » ... lays a key role in desynchronizing projection neurons. Because synaptic noise is believed to be the dominant factor that limits neuronal reliability, we consider a computational model of the antennal lobe in which a population of oscillatory neurons interact through unreliable GABA A and GABA B inhibitory synapses. From theoretical analysis and extensive computer simulations, we show that transmission failures at slow GABA B synapses make the neural response unpredictable. Depending on the balance between GABA A and GABA B inputs, particular neurons may either synchronize or desynchronize. These findings suggest a wiring scheme that triggers stimulus-specific synchronized assemblies. Inhibitory connections are set by Hebbian learning and selectively activated by stimulus patterns to form a spiking associative memory whose storage capacity is comparable to that of classical binary-coded models. We conclude that fast inhibition acts in concert with slow inhibition to reformat the glomerular input into odor-specific synchronized neural assemblies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000139 pmid:18795147 pmcid:PMC2536510 fatcat:aswgpxv7drasbk53ecjtq3dnuu