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ISR of Purkinje cells

Finally my first PhD article has been published! You could find it here.

It took almost 8 years to make the complete story. There were various reasons why it took so long, but in the end all these factors do not matter. The article is available and to be honest, I am proud of our results. It was even on the front page for a week! ISR really exist in neurons and could be functional, yet the last statement need further investigation.

Here is the short summary:

How neurons generate output spikes in response to various combinations of inputs is a central issue in contemporary neuroscience. Due to their large dendritic tree and complex intrinsic properties, cerebellar Purkinje cells are an important model system to study this input-output transformation. Here we examine how noise can change the parameters of this transformation. In experiments we found that spike generation in Purkinje cells can be efficiently inhibited by noise of a particular amplitude. This effect is called inverse stochastic resonance (ISR) and has previously been described only in theoretical models of neurons. We explain the mechanism underlying ISR using a simple model matching the properties of experimentally characterized Purkinje cells. We found that ISR is present in Purkinje cells when the mean input current is near threshold for spike generation. ISR can be explained by the co-existence of resting and spiking solutions of the simple model. Changes of the input noise variance change the lifetime of these resting and spiking states, suggesting a mechanism for a tunable filter with long time constants implemented by a Purkinje cell population in the cerebellum. Finally, ISR leads to locally optimal information transfer from the input to the output of a Purkinje cell.

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