Role of inhibitory feedback for information processing in thalamocortical circuits

Jörg Mayer*, Heinz Georg Schuster, Jens Christian Claussen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The information transfer in the thalamus is blocked dynamically during sleep, in conjunction with the occurrence of spindle waves. In order to describe the dynamic mechanisms which control the sensory transfer of information, it is necessary to have a qualitative model for the response properties of thalamic neurons. As the theoretical understanding of the mechanism remains incomplete, we analyze two modeling approaches for a recent experiment by Le Masson [Nature (London) 417, 854 (2002)] on the thalamocortical loop. We use a conductance based model in order to motivate an extension of the Hindmarsh-Rose model, which mimics experimental observations of Le Masson Typically, thalamic neurons posses two different firing modes, depending on their membrane potential. At depolarized potentials, the cells fire in a single spike mode and relay synaptic inputs in a one-to-one manner to the cortex. If the cell gets hyperpolarized, T -type calcium currents generate burst-mode firing which leads to a decrease in the spike transfer. In thalamocortical circuits, the cell membrane gets hyperpolarized by recurrent inhibitory feedback loops. In the case of reciprocally coupled excitatory and inhibitory neurons, inhibitory feedback leads to metastable self-sustained oscillations, which mask the incoming input, and thereby reduce the information transfer significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031908
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2006

Bibliographical note

©2006 American Physical Societ. Role of inhibitory feedback for information processing in thalamocortical circuit.
Jörg Mayer, Heinz Georg Schuster, and Jens Christian Claussen
Phys. Rev. E 73, 031908 – Published 13 March 2006


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