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Neural Computation

February 1, 2000, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 385-405
(doi: 10.1162/089976600300015844)
© 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Modeling Synaptic Plasticity in Conjunction with the Timing of Pre- and Postsynaptic Action Potentials
Article PDF (280.83 KB)

We present a spiking neuron model that allows for an analytic calculation of the correlations between pre- and postsynaptic spikes. The neuron model is a generalization of the integrate-and-fire model and equipped with a probabilistic spike-triggering mechanism. We show that under certain biologically plausible conditions, pre- and postsynaptic spike trains can be described simultaneously as an inhomogeneous Poisson process.

Inspired by experimental findings, we develop a model for synaptic long-term plasticity that relies on the relative timing of pre- and post-synaptic action potentials. Being given an input statistics, we compute the stationary synaptic weights that result from the temporal correlations between the pre- and postsynaptic spikes. By means of both analytic calculations and computer simulations, we show that such a mechanism of synaptic plasticity is able to strengthen those input synapses that convey precisely timed spikes at the expense of synapses that deliver spikes with a broad temporal distribution. This may be of vital importance for any kind of information processing based on spiking neurons and temporal coding.