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This article is part of the supplement: Sixteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2007

Open Access Poster presentation

Phase-locking in electrically coupled spiking neurons: the influence of intrinsic properties of neurons

Timothy J Lewis

Author Affiliations

Department of Mathematics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

BMC Neuroscience 2007, 8(Suppl 2):P59  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-8-S2-P59

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

Published:6 July 2007

© 2007 Lewis; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Poster presentation

Electrical coupling between groups of inhibitory interneurons appears to be ubiquitous in the cortex. Because inhibitory interneurons are thought to play a fundamental role in generating cortical oscillations, phase-locking dynamics of electrical coupled interneurons has received considerable interest. A recent experimental study showed that electrically coupled neocortical interneurons have the ability to robustly synchronize over a broad range of frequencies and an inability to phase-lock in anti-phase [1]. How electrical coupling interacts with the intrinsic properties of neurons to generate stable phase-locked states remains unclear. Using the theory of weakly coupled oscillators and phase-response curves (PRC) from both real and model interneurons, I identify some of the intrinsic properties of neurons that determine the stability of phase-locked states and describe the underlying dynamical mechanisms. In the real and model interneurons that are examined, wide spikes and shallow action potential afterhyperpolarizations promote synchronous behavior; however, this property depends critically on the shape of the PRC. I discuss the combinations of PRC shapes and membrane potential time-courses required for stable synchrony and for stable anti-phase activity. I then use these results as a framework to examine how specific ionic conductances alter stability of phase-locked states.


  1. Mancilla JG, Lewis TJ, Pinto DJ, Rinzel J, Connors BW: Firing dynamics of coupled pairs of inhibitory interneurons in neocortex.

    J Neurosci 2007, 27:2058-2073. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL