The influence of the a-current on the dynamics of an oscillator-follower inhibitory network

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The transient potassium A-current is present in almost all neurons and plays an essential role in determining the timing and frequency of action potential generation. We use a three-variable mathematical model to examine the role of the A-current in a rhythmic inhibitory network, as is common in central pattern generation. We focus on a feed-forward architecture consisting of an oscillator neuron inhibiting a follower neuron. We use separation of time scales to demonstrate that the trajectory of the follower neuron within each cycle can be tracked by analyzing the dynamics on a two-dimensional slow manifold that is determined by the two slow model variables: the recovery variable and the inactivation of the A-current. The steady-state trajectory, however, requires tracking the slow variables across multiple cycles. We show that tracking the slow variables, under simplifying assumptions, leads to a one-dimensional map of the unit interval with at most a single discontinuity depending on gA, the maximal conductance of the A-current, or other model parameters. We demonstrate that, as the value of gA is varied, the trajectory of the follower neuron goes through a set of bifurcations to produce n:m periodic solutions, where the follower neuron becomes active m times for each n cycles of the oscillator. Using a generalized Pascal triangle, each n:m trajectory can be constructed as a combination of solutions from a higher level of the triangle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1564-1590
Number of pages27
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • 1-d map
  • Bifurcation
  • Oscillation
  • Periodic orbit
  • Phase plane
  • Slow manifold


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