The effect of electrical coupling on the frequency of model neuronal oscillators

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Science  06 Apr 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4951, pp. 83-85
DOI: 10.1126/science.2321028


Neurons with oscillatory properties are a common feature of the nervous system, but little is known about how neural oscillators shape the behavior of neuronal networks or how network interactions influence the properties of neural oscillators. Mathematical models are used to examine the effect of electrically coupling an oscillatory neuron to a second neuron that is either silent or tonically firing. Models of oscillatory neurons with varying degrees of complexity show that this coupling can either increase or decrease the frequency of an oscillator, depending on its membrane potential wave form, the state of the neuron to which it is coupled, and the strength of the coupling. Thus, electrical coupling provides a flexible mechanism for modifying the behavior of an oscillatory neural network.