Bursting in inhibitory interneuronal networks: A role for gap-junctional coupling.


Much work now emphasizes the concept that interneuronal networks play critical roles in generating synchronized, oscillatory behavior. Experimental work has shown that functional inhibitory networks alone can produce synchronized activity, and theoretical work has demonstrated how synchrony could occur in mutually inhibitory networks. Even though gap junctions are known to exist between interneurons, their role is far from clear. We present a mechanism by which synchronized bursting can be produced in a minimal network of mutually inhibitory and gap-junctionally coupled neurons. The bursting relies on the presence of persistent sodium and slowly inactivating potassium currents in the individual neurons. Both GABAA inhibitory currents and gap-junctional coupling are required for stable bursting behavior to be obtained. Typically, the role of gap-junctional coupling is focused on synchronization mechanisms. However, these results suggest that a possible role of gap-junctional coupling may lie in the generation and stabilization of bursting oscillatory behavior.

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@article{Skinner1999BurstingII, title={Bursting in inhibitory interneuronal networks: A role for gap-junctional coupling.}, author={F K Skinner and L Zhang and J L Velazquez and P L Carlen}, journal={Journal of neurophysiology}, year={1999}, volume={81 3}, pages={1274-83} }