A pulsed neural network model of bursting in the basal ganglia

Mark D. Humphries, Kevin N. Gurney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present new techniques for extending the functionality of spiking neurons which allow the incorporation of several aspects of neuron function previously confined to the domain of low level ion-channel based models. These aspects include spontaneous (or endogenous) firing, the complex interaction of multiple ion-species and the spatial distribution of synaptic contacts over the cell membrane. These ideas are applied to a neural circuit consisting of the cortex and a subset of the nuclei in the basal ganglia - the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe). This circuit has been studied extensively in vitro by Plenz and Kitai [Plenz, D., & Kitai, S. T. (1999). A basal ganglia pacemaker formed by the subthalamic nucleus and external globus pallidus. Nature, 400 677-682] whose data we use to constrain our model. With respect to this circuit, we have obtained three main results. First, that its characteristic burst firing is due to a Ca2+ current mediated mechanism. Second, that noise can assist in the generation of bursting and, paradoxically, stabilise the network behaviour under synaptic weight variations. Third, that a variety of dendritic processing is necessary in order to obtain the full range of bursting behaviour. © 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)845-863
    Number of pages18
    JournalNeural Networks
    Issue number6-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Basal ganglia
    • Ca2+ currents
    • Compartmental model
    • GPe
    • Noise
    • Spiking neuron
    • STN


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