Dendritic and synaptic effects in systems of coupled cortical oscillators

Sharon M. Crook, G. Bard Ermentrout, James M. Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We explore the influence of synaptic location and form on the behavior of networks of coupled cortical oscillators. First, we develop a model of two coupled somatic oscillators that includes passive dendritic cables. Using a phase model approach, we show that the synchronous solution can change from a stable solution to an unstable one as the cable lengthens and the synaptic position moves further from the soma. We confirm this prediction using a system of coupled compartmental models. We also demonstrate that when the synchronous solution becomes unstable, a bifurcation occurs and a pair of asynchronous stable solutions appear, causing a phase lag between the cells in the system. Then using a variety of coupling functions and different synaptic positions, we show that distal connections and broad synaptic time courses encourage phase lags that can be reduced, eliminated, or enhanced by the presence of active currents in the dendrite. This mechanism may appear in neural systems where proximal connections could be used to encourage synchrony, and distal connections and broad synaptic time courses could be used to produce phase lags that can be modulated by active currents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of computational neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical oscillators
  • Dendritic delay
  • Phase model
  • Synaptic effects
  • Synchrony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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