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Trends Neurosci. 2005 Oct;28(10):562-9.

Biophysically detailed modelling of microcircuits and beyond.

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Laboratory of Theoretical Neurobiology, Institute Born-Bunge, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium.


Realistic bottom-up modelling has been seminal to understanding which properties of microcircuits control their dynamic behaviour, such as the locomotor rhythms generated by central pattern generators. In this article of the TINS Microcircuits Special Feature, we review recent modelling work on the leech-heartbeat and lamprey-swimming pattern generators as examples. Top-down mathematical modelling also has an important role in analyzing microcircuit properties but it has not always been easy to reconcile results from the two modelling approaches. Most realistic microcircuit models are relatively simple and need to be made more detailed to represent complex processes more accurately. We review methods to add neuromechanical feedback, biochemical pathways or full dendritic morphologies to microcircuit models. Finally, we consider the advantages and challenges of full-scale simulation of networks of microcircuits.

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