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J Neurosci. 1999 Apr 1;19(7):2765-79.

Network oscillations generated by balancing graded asymmetric reciprocal inhibition in passive neurons.

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Volen Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.


We describe a novel mechanism by which network oscillations can arise from reciprocal inhibitory connections between two entirely passive neurons. The model was inspired by the activation of the gastric mill rhythm in the crab stomatogastric ganglion by the modulatory commissural ganglion neuron 1 (MCN1), but it is studied here in general terms. One model neuron has a linear current-voltage (I-V) curve with a low (L) resting potential, and the second model neuron has a linear current-voltage curve with a high (H) resting potential. The inhibitory connections between them are graded. There is an extrinsic modulatory excitatory input to the L neuron, and the L neuron presynaptically inhibits the modulatory neuron. Activation of the extrinsic modulatory neuron elicits stable network oscillations in which the L and H neurons are active in alternation. The oscillations arise because the graded reciprocal synapses create the equivalent of a negative-slope conductance region in the I-V curves for the cells. Geometrical methods are used to analyze the properties of and the mechanism underlying these network oscillations.

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