Characterizing signal encoding and transmission in class I and class II neurons via ordinal time-series analysis

Estarellas, C.; Masoliver, M.; Masoller, C.; Mirasso, C.
Chaos 30, 013123 (1-15) (2020)

Neurons encode and transmit information in spike sequences. However, despite the effort devoted to understand the encoding and transmission of information, the mechanisms underlying the neuronal encoding are not yet fully understood. Here, we use a nonlinear method of time-series analysis (known as ordinal analysis) to compare the statistics of spike sequences generated by applying an input signal to the neuronal model of Morris–Lecar. In particular, we consider two different regimes for the neurons which lead to two classes of excitability: class I, where the frequency-current curve is continuous and class II, where the frequency-current curve is discontinuous. By applying ordinal analysis to sequences of inter-spike-intervals (ISIs) our goals are (1) to investigate if different neuron types can generate spike sequences which have similar symbolic properties; (2) to get deeper understanding on the effects that electrical (diffusive) and excitatory chemical (i.e., excitatory synapse) couplings have; and (3) to compare, when a small-amplitude periodic signal is applied to one of the neurons, how the signal features (amplitude and frequency) are encoded and transmitted in the generated ISI sequences for both class I and class II type neurons and electrical or chemical couplings. We find that depending on the frequency, specific combinations of neuron/class and coupling-type allow a
more effective encoding, or a more effective transmission of the signal.

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