Short-term depression shapes information transmission in a constitutively active GABAergic synapse

Hagar Lavian, Alon Korngreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Short-term depression is a low-pass filter of synaptic information, reducing synaptic information transfer at high presynaptic firing frequencies. Consequently, during elevated presynaptic firing, little information passes to the postsynaptic neuron. However, many neurons fire at relatively high frequencies all the time. Does depression silence their synapses? We tested this apparent contradiction in the indirect pathway of the basal ganglia. Using numerical modeling and whole-cell recordings from single entopeduncular nucleus (EP) neurons in rat brain slices, we investigated how different firing rates of globus pallidus (GP) neurons affect information transmission to the EP. Whole-cell recordings showed significant variability in steady-state depression, which decreased as stimulation frequency increased. Modeling predicted that this variability would translate into different postsynaptic noise levels during constitutive presynaptic activity. Our simulations further predicted that individual GP-EP synapses mediate gain control. However, when we consider the integration of multiple inputs, the broad range of GP firing rates would enable different modes of information transmission. Finally, we predict that changes in dopamine levels can shift the action of GP neurons from rate coding to gain modulation. Our results thus demonstrate how short-term depression shapes information transmission in the basal ganglia in particular and via GABAergic synapses in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18092
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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