Current-based generalized leaky integrate and fire (GLIF) neuron with double alpha synaptic functionΒΆ

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Simple example of how to use the glif_psc_double_alpha neuron model that illustrates differences from the glif_psc neuron model.

The behavior of the glif_psc_double_alpha neuron model is the same as the glif_psc neuron model, except that the synaptic currents are modeled as a double alpha function. Therefore, in this example, we only compare the difference in the synaptic currents between the two models. Compared to the single alpha function, the double alpha function has much more control over the shape of the tail of the synaptic current.

Simple synaptic inputs are applied to the neuron and the resulting voltage and current traces are shown for the two models.

First, we import all necessary modules to simulate, analyze and plot this example.

import matplotlib.gridspec as gridspec
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import nest

We initialize NEST and set the simulation resolution.

resolution = 0.05
nest.resolution = resolution

We also pre-define the synapse time constant arrays. In contrast to glif_psc models, glif_psc_double_alpha models have two components of synaptic currents, one for the fast component and the other for the slow component. The relative amplitude also needs to be set, so there are three parameters to define per receptor port. For this example, we keep the tau_syn_fast to 2 ms for simplicity, and vary the tau_syn_slow and amp_slow to illustrate how the parameters affect the shape of the synaptic currents.

tau_syn_glif_psc = [2.0, 2.0, 2.0]  # value for the ``glif_psc`` model

tau_syn_fast = [2.0, 2.0, 2.0]  # common between 'timing' and 'amp' manipulations

# for the slow component timing manipuation
tau_syn_slow_timing = [4.0, 6.0, 8.0]
amp_slow_timing = [0.5, 0.5, 0.5]

# for the slow component amplitude manipulation
tau_syn_slow_amp = [6.0, 6.0, 6.0]
amp_slow_amp = [0.2, 0.5, 0.8]

Now we create three neurons: glif_psc, glif_psc_double_alpha_timing, and glif_psc_double_alpha_amp. The parameters for the glif_psc neuron are set as default. The parameters for the glif_psc_double_alpha_timing neuron are set to have the same tau_syn_fast as the glif_psc neuron, and the tau_syn_slow and amp_slow are set to the values defined above for the timing manipulation.

n_glif_psc = nest.Create(
        "spike_dependent_threshold": False,
        "after_spike_currents": False,
        "adapting_threshold": False,
        "tau_syn": tau_syn_glif_psc,

n_glif_psc_double_alpha_timing = nest.Create(
        "spike_dependent_threshold": False,
        "after_spike_currents": False,
        "adapting_threshold": False,
        "tau_syn_fast": tau_syn_fast,
        "tau_syn_slow": tau_syn_slow_timing,
        "amp_slow": amp_slow_timing,

n_glif_psc_double_alpha_amp = nest.Create(
        "spike_dependent_threshold": False,
        "after_spike_currents": False,
        "adapting_threshold": False,
        "tau_syn_fast": tau_syn_fast,
        "tau_syn_slow": tau_syn_slow_amp,
        "amp_slow": amp_slow_amp,

neurons = n_glif_psc + n_glif_psc_double_alpha_timing + n_glif_psc_double_alpha_amp

For the stimulation input to the glif_psc neurons, we create three excitation spike generators, each one with a single spike.

espike1 = nest.Create("spike_generator", params={"spike_times": [10.0], "spike_weights": [20.0]})
espike2 = nest.Create("spike_generator", params={"spike_times": [110.0], "spike_weights": [20.0]})
espike3 = nest.Create("spike_generator", params={"spike_times": [210.0], "spike_weights": [20.0]})

The generators are then connected to the neurons. Specification of the receptor_type uniquely defines the target receptor. We connect each of the spikes generator to a different receptor that have different parameters.

nest.Connect(espike1, neurons, syn_spec={"delay": resolution, "receptor_type": 1})
nest.Connect(espike2, neurons, syn_spec={"delay": resolution, "receptor_type": 2})
nest.Connect(espike3, neurons, syn_spec={"delay": resolution, "receptor_type": 3})

A multimeter is created and connected to the neurons. The parameters specified for the multimeter include the list of quantities that should be recorded and the time interval at which quantities are measured.

mm = nest.Create(
        "interval": resolution,
        "record_from": ["V_m", "I_syn"],
nest.Connect(mm, neurons)

Run the simulation for 300 ms and retrieve recorded data from the multimeter and spike recorder.

data =

We plot the time traces of the synaptic current and the membrane potential. Each input current is annotated with the corresponding parameter value of the receptor. The blue line is the synaptic current of the glif_psc neuron, and the red line is the synaptic current of the glif_psc_double_alpha neuron.

# defining the figure property for each parameter variation type,
variation_types = ["timing", "amp"]
annotate_variable = ["tau_syn_slow", "amp_slow"]
annotate_values = [tau_syn_slow_timing, amp_slow_amp]
fig_titles = [
    "Variation of tau_syn_slow: tau_syn_fast = 2.0, amp_slow = 0.5",
    "Variation of amp_slow: tau_syn_fast = 2.0, tau_syn_slow = 6.0",

senders = data["senders"]
t = data["times"][senders == 1]

for i, variation_type in enumerate(variation_types):
    plt.figure(variation_type, figsize=(10, 5))
    gs = gridspec.GridSpec(2, 1, height_ratios=[1, 1])
    data_types = ["I_syn", "V_m"]
    data_types_names = ["Synaptic current (pA)", "Membrane potential (mV)"]
    for j, data_type in enumerate(data_types):
        d = data[data_type]
        ax = plt.subplot(gs[j])
        ax.plot(t, d[senders == 1], "b", label="glif_psc (tau_syn=2.0)")
        ax.plot(t, d[senders == 2 + i], "r", label="glif_psc_double_alpha")
        if j == 0:
            # place legend outside the plot
            ax.legend(bbox_to_anchor=(1.05, 1), loc="upper left", borderaxespad=0)
            ax.set_xlabel("time (ms)")


    # now let's annotate each of the input with the corresponding parameter.
    spike_timings = [10.0, 110.0, 210.0]
    ax = plt.subplot(gs[0])
    for j, spike_timing in enumerate(spike_timings):
            xy=(spike_timing + 10, 20),
            xytext=(spike_timing + 10, 25),
            arrowprops=dict(arrowstyle="->", connectionstyle="arc3"),

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