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Open AccessArticle

Synaptic Information Transmission in a Two-State Model of Short-Term Facilitation

Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
German Center for Vertigo and Balance Disorders, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, 81377 Munich, Germany
Department of Biology II, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
Computational Neuroscience, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, 03046 Cottbus, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2019, 21(8), 756;
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published: 2 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Dynamics in Brain and Physiological Networks)
PDF [1126 KB, uploaded 8 August 2019]


Action potentials (spikes) can trigger the release of a neurotransmitter at chemical synapses between neurons. Such release is uncertain, as it occurs only with a certain probability. Moreover, synaptic release can occur independently of an action potential (asynchronous release) and depends on the history of synaptic activity. We focus here on short-term synaptic facilitation, in which a sequence of action potentials can temporarily increase the release probability of the synapse. In contrast to the phenomenon of short-term depression, quantifying the information transmission in facilitating synapses remains to be done. We find rigorous lower and upper bounds for the rate of information transmission in a model of synaptic facilitation. We treat the synapse as a two-state binary asymmetric channel, in which the arrival of an action potential shifts the synapse to a facilitated state, while in the absence of a spike, the synapse returns to its baseline state. The information bounds are functions of both the asynchronous and synchronous release parameters. If synchronous release facilitates more than asynchronous release, the mutual information rate increases. In contrast, short-term facilitation degrades information transmission when the synchronous release probability is intrinsically high. As synaptic release is energetically expensive, we exploit the information bounds to determine the energy–information trade-off in facilitating synapses. We show that unlike information rate, the energy-normalized information rate is robust with respect to variations in the strength of facilitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: short-term synaptic facilitation; release site; information theory; binary asymmetric channel; mutual information rate; information bound short-term synaptic facilitation; release site; information theory; binary asymmetric channel; mutual information rate; information bound

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Salmasi, M.; Stemmler, M.; Glasauer, S.; Loebel, A. Synaptic Information Transmission in a Two-State Model of Short-Term Facilitation. Entropy 2019, 21, 756.

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