Abstract: Dynamical Origin of Independent Spiking and Bursting Activity in Neural Microcircuits

Thomas Nowotny and Mikhail I. Rabinovich


The relationship between spiking and bursting dynamics is a key question in neuroscience, particularly in understanding the origins of different neural coding strategies and the mechanisms of motor command generation and neural circuit coordination. Experiments indicate that spiking and bursting dynamics can be independent. We hypothesize that different mechanisms for spike and burst generation, intrinsic neuron dynamics for spiking and a modulational network instability for bursting, are the origin of this independence. We tested the hypothesis in a detailed dynamical analysis of a minimal inhibitory neural microcircuit (motif) of three reciprocally connected Hodgkin-Huxley neurons. We reduced this high-dimensional dynamical system to a rate model and showed that both systems have identical bifurcations from tonic spiking to burst generation, which, therefore, does not depend on the details of spiking activity.