Bistable oscillations arising from synaptic depression

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Synaptic depression is a common form of short-term plasticity in the central and peripheral nervous systems. We show that in a network of two reciprocally connected neurons a single depressing synapse can produce two distinct oscillatory regimes. These distinct periodic behaviors can be studied by varying the maximal conductance, ḡinh, of the depressing synapse. For small ḡinh, the network has a short-period solution controlled by intrinsic cellular properties. For large ḡinh, the solution has a much longer period and is controlled by properties of the synapse. We show that in an intermediate range of ḡinh values both stable periodic solutions exist simultaneously. Thus the network can switch oscillatory modes either by changing ḡinh or, for fixed ḡinh, by changing initial conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)706-727
Number of pages22
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Mathematics


  • Bistability
  • Excitation
  • Inhibition
  • Neuromodulation
  • Synaptic plasticity


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