Complex dynamics in simplified neuronal models: Reproducing golgi cell electroresponsiveness

Alice Geminiani, Claudia Casellato, Francesca Locatelli, Francesca Prestori, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Egidio D'Angelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain neurons exhibit complex electroresponsive properties – including intrinsic subthreshold oscillations and pacemaking, resonance and phase-reset – which are thought to play a critical role in controlling neural network dynamics. Although these properties emerge from detailed representations of molecular-level mechanisms in “realistic” models, they cannot usually be generated by simplified neuronal models (although these may show spike-frequency adaptation and bursting). We report here that this whole set of properties can be generated by the extended generalized leaky integrate-and-fire (E-GLIF) neuron model. E-GLIF derives from the GLIF model family and is therefore mono-compartmental, keeps the limited computational load typical of a linear low-dimensional system, admits analytical solutions and can be tuned through gradient-descent algorithms. Importantly, E-GLIF is designed to maintain a correspondence between model parameters and neuronal membrane mechanisms through a minimum set of equations. In order to test its potential, E-GLIF was used to model a specific neuron showing rich and complex electroresponsiveness, the cerebellar Golgi cell, and was validated against experimental electrophysiological data recorded from Golgi cells in acute cerebellar slices. During simulations, E-GLIF was activated by stimulus patterns, including current steps and synaptic inputs, identical to those used for the experiments. The results demonstrate that E-GLIF can reproduce the whole set of complex neuronal dynamics typical of these neurons – including intensity-frequency curves, spike-frequency adaptation, post-inhibitory rebound bursting, spontaneous subthreshold oscillations, resonance, and phase-reset – providing a new effective tool to investigate brain dynamics in large-scale simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Publication statusPublished - Dec 3 2018


  • Cerebellum
  • Golgi cell
  • Leaky integrate-and-fire
  • Model simplification
  • Neuronal electroresponsiveness
  • Neuronal modeling
  • Point neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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