The effect of synaptic inhibition on burst firing of a two-compartment model of a CA3 pyramidal cell is considered. We show that, depending on its timing, a short dose of fast decaying synaptic inhibition can either delay or advance the timing of firing of subsequent bursts. Moreover, increasing the strength of the inhibitory input is shown to modulate the burst profile from a full complex burst, to a burst with multiple spikes, to single spikes. We additionally show how slowly decaying inhibitory input can be used to synchronize a network of pyramidal cells. Implications for the phase precession phenomenon of hippocampal place cells and for the generation of temporal and rate codes are discussed.
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