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Phase locking in networks of synaptically coupled McKean relaxation oscillators

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posted on 25.01.2006 by S. Coombes
We use geometric dynamical systems methods to derive phase equations for networks of weakly connected McKean relaxation oscillators. We derive an explicit formula for the connection function when the oscillators are coupled with chemical synapses modeled as the convolution of some input spike train with an appropriate synaptic kernel. The theory allows the systematic investigation of the way in which a slow recovery variable can interact with synaptic time scales to produce phase-locked solutions in networks of pulse coupled neural relaxation oscillators. The theory is exact in the singular limit that the fast and slow time scales of the neural oscillator become effectively independent. By focusing on a pair of mutually coupled McKean oscillators with alpha function synaptic kernels, we clarify the role that fast and slow synapses of excitatory and inhibitory type can play in producing stable phase-locked rhythms. In particular we show that for fast excitatory synapses there is coexistence of a stable synchronous, a stable anti-synchronous, and one stable asynchronous solution. For slower synapses the anti-synchronous solution can lose stability, whilst for even slower synapses it can regain stability. The case of inhibitory synapses is similar up to a reversal of the stability of solution branches. Using a return-map analysis the case of strong pulsatile coupling is also considered. In this case it is shown that the synchronous solution can co-exist with a continuum of asynchronous states.



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