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Probabilistic Inference of Short-Term Synaptic Plasticity in Neocortical Microcircuits

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http://www.frontiersin.org/computational_neuroscience/10.3389/fncom.2013.00075/abstract
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Volume7
Issue number75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Abstract

Short-term synaptic plasticity is highly diverse across brain area, cortical layer, cell type, and developmental stage. Since short-term plasticity shapes neural dynamics, this diversity suggests a specific and essential role in neural information processing. Therefore, a correct characterization of short-term synaptic plasticity is an important step towards understanding and modeling neural systems. Phenomenological models have been developed, but they are usually fitted to experimental data using least-mean-square methods. We demonstrate that, for typical synaptic dynamics, such fitting may give unreliable results. As a solution, we introduce a Bayesian formulation, which yields the posterior distribution over the model parameters given the data. First, we show that common short-term plasticity protocols yield broad distributions over some model parameters. Using our result we propose a experimental protocol to more accurately determine synaptic dynamics parameters. Next, we infer the model parameters using experimental data from three different neocortical excitatory connection types. This reveals connection-specific distributions, which we use to classify synaptic dynamics. Our approach to demarcate connection-specific synaptic dynamics is an important improvement on the state of the art and reveals novel features from existing data.

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