Spike pattern structure influences synaptic efficacy variability under STDP and synaptic homeostasis. I: Spike generating models on converging motifs

Zedong Bi*, Changsong ZHOU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In neural systems, synaptic plasticity is usually driven by spike trains. Due to the inherent noises of neurons and synapses as well as the randomness of connection details, spike trains typically exhibit variability such as spatial randomness and temporal stochasticity, resulting in variability of synaptic changes under plasticity, which we call efficacy variability. How the variability of spike trains influences the efficacy variability of synapses remains unclear. In this paper, we try to understand this influence under pair-wise additive spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) when the mean strength of plastic synapses into a neuron is bounded (synaptic homeostasis). Specifically, we systematically study, analytically and numerically, how four aspects of statistical features, i.e., synchronous firing, burstiness/regularity, heterogeneity of rates and heterogeneity of cross-correlations, as well as their interactions influence the efficacy variability in converging motifs (simple networks in which one neuron receives from many other neurons). Neurons (including the post-synaptic neuron) in a converging motif generate spikes according to statistical models with tunable parameters. In this way, we can explicitly control the statistics of the spike patterns, and investigate their influence onto the efficacy variability, without worrying about the feedback from synaptic changes onto the dynamics of the post-synaptic neuron. We separate efficacy variability into two parts: the drift part (DriftV) induced by the heterogeneity of change rates of different synapses, and the diffusion part (DiffV) induced by weight diffusion caused by stochasticity of spike trains. Our main findings are: (1) synchronous firing and burstiness tend to increase DiffV (2) heterogeneity of rates induces DriftV when potentiation and depression in STDP are not balanced, and (3) heterogeneity of cross-correlations induces DriftV together with heterogeneity of rates. We anticipate our work important for understanding functional processes of neuronal networks (such as memory) and neural development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

User-Defined Keywords

  • Efficacy variability
  • Spike generating models
  • Spike pattern structure
  • STDP
  • Synaptic homeostasis
  • Synaptic plasticity


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