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This article is part of the supplement: Eighteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2009

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Influence of external input on waxing and waning of neuronal network oscillations

Oscar J Avella Gonzalez1*, Ronald van Elburg2, Huibert Mansvelder1, Jaap van Pelt1 and Arjen van Ooyen1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, VU University Amsterdam, 1081 HV The Netherlands

2 Department of Artificial Intelligence, University of Groningen, 9700 AB, The Netherlands

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BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10(Suppl 1):P257  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-S1-P257

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:13 July 2009

© 2009 Gonzalez et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Experimental observations have reported modulation of cortical oscillations as phases of high synchronization (waxing) followed by periods of reduced synchronization (waning) [1-3]. Although the phenomenon is present in almost all frequency bands, it is still not understood how this is driven. Here we study whether this phenomenon can occur in a network of inhibitory (I) and excitatory (E) cells and what effect external inputs have.


Using NEURON, we model a network of Ne excitatory and Ni inhibitory cells such that Ne/Ni = 4. The cells have a single compartment, and include passive channels and voltage dependent Na+, K+ channels. Synaptic connections are random, projecting GABA synapses from I to I and I to E cells and AMPA synapses from E to E and E to I cells. To stimulate the network, each cell receives a baseline of current and a stream of spikes delivered at random intervals across the simulated period.


We show that in a stable oscillatory network, waxing and waning occurs without the need for other synaptic mechanisms than the spike generating K+ and Na+ channels. The phenomenon can be modulated by changing the characteristics of the external input, such as number of spikes, mean inter-spike interval, randomness and whether E or I cells receive the external input. See figures 1 and 2.

thumbnailFigure 1. Raster plots of E (top) and I (middle) populations, during waxing and waning of a beta oscillation, and firing rate histograms (bottom).

thumbnailFigure 2. Wavelet transform of the activity in the E population for the same time period as shown in figure 1.


The work was supported by the EU grant MC-RTN NEURoVERS-it (019247).


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