Dynamics of networks of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in response to time-dependent inputs.
We investigate the dynamics of recurrent networks of excitatory (E) and inhibitory (I) neurons in the presence of time-dependent inputs. The dynamics is characterized by the network dynamical transfer function, i.e., how the population firing rate is modulated by sinusoidal inputs at arbitrary frequencies. Two types of networks are studied and compared: (i) a Wilson-Cowan type firing rate model; and (ii) a fully connected network of leaky integrate-and-fire (LIF) neurons, in a strong noise regime. We first characterize the region of stability of the "asynchronous state" (a state in which population activity is constant in time when external inputs are constant) in the space of parameters characterizing the connectivity of the network. We then systematically characterize the qualitative behaviors of the dynamical transfer function, as a function of the connectivity. We find that the transfer function can be either low-pass, or with a single or double resonance, depending on the connection strengths and synaptic time constants. Resonances appear when the system is close to Hopf bifurcations, that can be induced by two separate mechanisms: the I-I connectivity and the E-I connectivity. Double resonances can appear when excitatory delays are larger than inhibitory delays, due to the fact that two distinct instabilities exist with a finite gap between the corresponding frequencies. In networks of LIF neurons, changes in external inputs and external noise are shown to be able to change qualitatively the network transfer function. Firing rate models are shown to exhibit the same diversity of transfer functions as the LIF network, provided delays are present. They can also exhibit input-dependent changes of the transfer function, provided a suitable static non-linearity is incorporated.
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