- Feedforward inhibition and synaptic scaling - two sides of the same coin? (2012)
- Feedforward inhibition and synaptic scaling are important adaptive processes that control the total input a neuron can receive from its afferents. While often studied in isolation, the two have been reported to co-occur in various brain regions. The functional implications of their interactions remain unclear, however. Based on a probabilistic modeling approach, we show here that fast feedforward inhibition and synaptic scaling interact synergistically during unsupervised learning. In technical terms, we model the input to a neural circuit using a normalized mixture model with Poisson noise. We demonstrate analytically and numerically that, in the presence of lateral inhibition introducing competition between different neurons, Hebbian plasticity and synaptic scaling approximate the optimal maximum likelihood solutions for this model. Our results suggest that, beyond its conventional use as a mechanism to remove undesired pattern variations, input normalization can make typical neural interaction and learning rules optimal on the stimulus subspace defined through feedforward inhibition. Furthermore, learning within this subspace is more efficient in practice, as it helps avoid locally optimal solutions. Our results suggest a close connection between feedforward inhibition and synaptic scaling which may have important functional implications for general cortical processing.
- Independent component analysis in spiking neurons (2010)
- Although models based on independent component analysis (ICA) have been successful in explaining various properties of sensory coding in the cortex, it remains unclear how networks of spiking neurons using realistic plasticity rules can realize such computation. Here, we propose a biologically plausible mechanism for ICA-like learning with spiking neurons. Our model combines spike-timing dependent plasticity and synaptic scaling with an intrinsic plasticity rule that regulates neuronal excitability to maximize information transmission. We show that a stochastically spiking neuron learns one independent component for inputs encoded either as rates or using spike-spike correlations. Furthermore, different independent components can be recovered, when the activity of different neurons is decorrelated by adaptive lateral inhibition.
- Homeostatic plasticity - computational and clinical implications (2010)
- Plasticity supports the remarkable adaptability and robustness of cortical processing. It allows the brain to learn and remember patterns in the sensory world, to refine motor control, to predict and obtain reward, or to recover function after injury. Behind this great flexibility hide a range of plasticity mechanisms, affecting different aspects of neuronal communication. However, little is known about the precise computational roles of some of these mechanisms. Here, we show that the interaction between spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP), intrinsic plasticity and synaptic scaling enables neurons to learn efficient representations of their inputs. In the context of reward-dependent learning, the same mechanisms allow a neural network to solve a working memory task. Moreover, although we make no any apriori assumptions on the encoding used for representing inputs, the network activity resembles that of brain regions known to be associated with working memory, suggesting that reward-dependent learning may be a central force in working memory development. Lastly, we investigated some of the clinical implications of synaptic scaling and showed that, paradoxically, there are situations in which the very mechanisms that normally are required to preserve the balance of the system, may act as a destabilizing factor and lead to seizures. Our model offers a novel explanation for the increased incidence of seizures following chronic inflammation.