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Information Efficacy of a Dynamic Synapse

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One of the functional consequences of short-term synaptic depression in neuronal transmission is the modulation of the synaptic information transfer rate. To quantify the effect of synaptic depression on the information rate, we model a release site by a binary asymmetric channel with a memory of release outcomes. The model distinguishes between spike-evoked and spontaneous releases, both of which depend on the history of the site’s activity: the release probabilities depress whenever a vesicle is released and recover back during quiescent intervals. First we derive the mutual information rate of a single release site and show that depression can increase the information rate, provided that the spontaneous release is depressed more than the spike-evoked release. Then we calculate the information rate of a depressing synapse with multiple release sites and determine the number of release sites that the synapse requires to optimally transfer information. Finally, we take into account the synaptic energy consumption of the neuron and analyze the trade-off between the rate of information transmission and energy expenditure of the neuron.

This talk is part of the Computational Neuroscience series.

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