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Studies with spike initiators: linearization by noise allows continuous signal modulation in neural networks

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2 Author(s)
Yu, X. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Lewis, E.R.

It is shown that noise can be an important element in the translation of neuronal generator potentials (summed inputs) to neuronal spike trains (outputs), creating or expanding a range of amplitudes over which the spike rate is proportional to the generator potential amplitude. Noise converts the basically nonlinear operation of a spoke initiator into a nearly linear modulation process. This linearization effect of noise is examined in a simple intuitive model of a static threshold and in a more realistic computer simulation of spike initiator based on the Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) model. The results are qualitatively similar; in each case larger noise amplitude results in a larger range of nearly linear modulation. The computer simulation of the HH model with noise shows linear and nonlinear features that were earlier observed in spike data obtained from the VIIIth nerve of the bullfrog. This suggests that these features can be explained in terms of spike initiator properties, and it also suggests that the HH model may be useful for representing basic spike initiator properties in vertebrates.<>

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 1 )