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J Physiol. 2005 Sep 15;567(Pt 3):1057-78. Epub 2005 Jul 14.

Factors determining the precision of the correlated firing generated by a monosynaptic connection in the cat visual pathway.

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Departamento de Lenguajes y Ciencias de la Computación, Universidad de Málaga, Spain.


Across the visual pathway, strong monosynaptic connections generate a precise correlated firing between presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. The precision of this correlated firing is not the same within thalamus and visual cortex. While retinogeniculate connections generate a very narrow peak in the correlogram (peak width < 1 ms), the peaks generated by geniculocortical and corticocortical connections have usually a time course of several milliseconds. Several factors could explain these differences in timing precision such as the amplitude of the monosynaptic EPSP (excitatory postsynaptic potential), its time course or the contribution of polysynaptic inputs. While it is difficult to isolate the contribution of each factor in physiological experiments, a first approximation can be done in modelling studies. Here, we simulated two monosynaptically connected neurons to measure changes in their correlated firing as we independently modified different parameters of the connection. Our results suggest that the precision of the correlated firing generated by strong monosynaptic connections is mostly determined by the EPSP time course of the connection and much less by other factors. In addition, we show that a polysynaptic pathway is unlikely to emulate the correlated firing generated by a monosynaptic connection unless it generates EPSPs with very small latency jitter.

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