Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurophysiol. 2003 Dec;90(6):3998-4015. Epub 2003 Aug 27.

Alternative to hand-tuning conductance-based models: construction and analysis of databases of model neurons.

Author information

Volen Center and Biology Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.


Conventionally, the parameters of neuronal models are hand-tuned using trial-and-error searches to produce a desired behavior. Here, we present an alternative approach. We have generated a database of about 1.7 million single-compartment model neurons by independently varying 8 maximal membrane conductances based on measurements from lobster stomatogastric neurons. We classified the spontaneous electrical activity of each model neuron and its responsiveness to inputs during runtime with an adaptive algorithm and saved a reduced version of each neuron's activity pattern. Our analysis of the distribution of different activity types (silent, spiking, bursting, irregular) in the 8-dimensional conductance space indicates that the coarse grid of conductance values we chose is sufficient to capture the salient features of the distribution. The database can be searched for different combinations of neuron properties such as activity type, spike or burst frequency, resting potential, frequency-current relation, and phase-response curve. We demonstrate how the database can be screened for models that reproduce the behavior of a specific biological neuron and show that the contents of the database can give insight into the way a neuron's membrane conductances determine its activity pattern and response properties. Similar databases can be constructed to explore parameter spaces in multicompartmental models or small networks, or to examine the effects of changes in the voltage dependence of currents. In all cases, database searches can provide insight into how neuronal and network properties depend on the values of the parameters in the models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center