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Beyond NeurotransmissionNeuromodulation and its Importance for Information Processing$
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Paul Katz

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524243

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524243.001.0001

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Message received: cellular responses to neuromodulatory signals

Message received: cellular responses to neuromodulatory signals

Chapter:
(p.121) 4 Message received: cellular responses to neuromodulatory signals
Source:
Beyond Neurotransmission
Author(s):

Gina G. Turrigiano

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524243.003.0004

Many computational models of neural circuits treat neurons as ‘integrate and fire’ devices that linearly sum excitatory and inhibitory inputs and fire an action potential when they pass threshold. While some aspects of neural computation can be successfully captured in this way, these models ignore a rich palette of intrinsic cellular properties that play important roles in generating the output of biological neural circuits. Neurons that fire bursts of action potentials intrinsically, for example, are present in various regions of the central nervous system (CNS), including the spinal cord, the thalamus, and the cortex. The role of such intrinsic bursting in generating rhythmic motor outputs in invertebrates and in spinal locomotor networks is well understood, but ideas about the function of complex intrinsic cellular properties are still largely speculative in many other systems. Nonetheless it is clear that most neurons possess a complex array of ion channels that produce conductances which help shape the response of the neuron to synaptic inputs, influence synaptic plasticity, and bestow very non-linear response properties upon the neurons in which they are expressed. These voltage-dependent conductances can interact in complex ways.

Keywords:   neural circuits, central nervous system, neuromodulatory signals, cellular response, synaptic inputs, synaptic plasticity

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