Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. We consider how the output of the perfect integrate-and-fire (I&F) model of a single neuron is affected by the properties of the input, first of all by the distribution of afferent excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potential (EPSP, IPSP) inter-arrival times, discriminating particularly between short- and long-tailed forms, and by the degree of balance between excitation and inhibition (as measured by the ratio, r, between the numbers of inhibitory and excitatory inputs). We find that the coefficient of variation (CV; standard deviation divided by mean) of efferent inter-spike interval (ISI) is an increasing function of the length of the tail of the distribution of EPSP inter-arrival times and the ratio r. There is a range of values of r in which the CV of output ISIs is between 0.5 and 1. Too tight a balance between EPSPs and IPSPs will cause the model to produce a CV outside the interval considered to correspond to the physiological range. Going to the extreme, an exact balance between EPSPs and IPSPs as considered in  ensures a long-tailed ISI output distribution for which the moments such as mean and variance cannot be defined. In this case it is meaningless to consider quantities like output jitter, CV, etc. of the efferent ISIs. The longer the tail of the input inter-arrival time distribution, the less is the requirement for balance between EPSPs and IPSPs in order to evoke output spike trains with a CV between 0.5 and 1. For a given short-tailed input distribution, the range of values of r in which the CV of efferent ISIs is between 0.5 and 1 is almost completely inside the range in which output jitter (standard deviation of efferent ISI) is greater than input jitter. Only when the CV is smaller than 0.5 or the input distribution is a long-tailed one is output less than input jitter . The I&F model tends to enlarge low input jitter and reduce high input jitter. We also provide a novel theoretical framework, based upon extreme value theory in statistics, for estimating output jitter, CV and mean firing time.
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