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Neurotransmitter spillover modulates neuronal information transmission

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The neurotransmitter content of a vesicle outnumbers the receptors on the postsynaptic density. Diffusion of neurotransmitter molecules in the synaptic cleft can additionally activate the receptors of other active zones, a phenomenon known as neurotransmitter spillover, thereby modifying synaptic integration. In this study, we investigate the effect of neurotransmitter spillover on the rate of neuronal information transmission. We present an analytical model for spillover and derive the postsynaptic potential as a function of the number of released vesicles and the level of spillover. The target neuron receives input from synapses with multiple release sites. Each site is modeled as a communication channel that has a memory governed by short-term plasticity. The model captures synchronous spike-evoked and asynchronous release modes of the synapse. We calculate the mutual information rate between the spiking activity of one input neuron and the target neuron, and investigate the impact of the neuronal noise, short-term depression/facilitation, and the clustering topology of the release sites on the modulatory role of neurotransmitter spillover.

This talk is part of the Computational Neuroscience series.

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