Journal article Open Access

Modelling Neuromodulated Information Flow and Energetic Consumption at Thalamic Relay Synapses

Mireille CONRAD; Renaud B. Jolivet

Abstract. Recent experimental and theoretical work has shown that synapses in the visual pathway balance information flow with their en- ergetic needs, maximising not the information flow from the retina to the primary visual cortex (bits per second), but instead maximising in- formation flow per concomitant energy consumption (bits of information transferred per number of adenosine triphosphate molecules necessary to power the corresponding synaptic and neuronal activities)[10,5,11]. We have previously developed a biophysical Hodgkin-Huxley-type model for thalamic relay cells, calibrated on experimental data, and that re- capitulates those experimental findings[10]. Here, we introduce an im- proved version of that model to include neuromodulation of thalamic relay synapses’ transmission properties by serotonin. We show how sig- nificantly neuromodulation affects the output of thalamic relay cells, and discuss the implications of that mechanism in the context of energetically optimal information transfer at those synapses.

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