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Reliability and Precision Are Optimal for Non-Uniform Distributions of Presynaptic Release Probability

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DOI: 10.4236/jbise.2015.83017    3,692 Downloads   4,031 Views   Citations


Most conceptual and computational models assume that synaptic transmission is reliable, a simplification rarely substantiated by data. The functional consequences of the recruitment of high and low initial release probability synapses on the reliability and precision of their postsynaptic targets are studied in a multi-compartmental model of a hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cell. We show that changes in the firing rate of CA3 afferent inputs (rate remapping) are not reflected in the firing rate of the CA1 cell but in the reliability and precise timing of some of its action potentials, suggesting that a signature of remapping may be found in the precise spike timing of CA1. Our results suggest that about half of the action potentials produced by a CA1 cell can potentially carry reliable information in their precise timing with about 25 ms precision, a time scale on the order of the gamma cycle. We show further that reliable events were primarily elicited by CA3 synapses in a state of low probability of release. Overall, our results suggest that the non-uniform distribution of initial release probabilities observed experimentally achieves an optimum yielding simultaneously high precision and high reliability, and allows large populations of CA3 synapses to contribute to the production of reliable CA1 spiking events.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Fellous, J. and Corral-Frías, N. (2015) Reliability and Precision Are Optimal for Non-Uniform Distributions of Presynaptic Release Probability. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 8, 170-183. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2015.83017.


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