Continuous and lurching traveling pulses in neuronal networks with delay and spatially decaying connectivity

David Colomb, G. Bard Ermentrout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Propagation of discharges in cortical and thalamic systems, which is used as a probe for examining network circuitry, is studied by constructing a one-dimensional model of integrate-and-fire neurons that are coupled by excitatory synapses with delay. Each neuron fires only one spike. The velocity and stability of propagating continuous pulses are calculated analytically. Above a certain critical value of the constant delay, these pulses lose stability. Instead, lurching pulses propagate with discontinuous and periodic spatio-temporal characteristics. The parameter regime for which lurching occurs is strongly affected by the footprint (connectivity) shape; bistability may occur with a square footprint shape but not with an exponential footprint shape. For strong synaptic coupling, the velocity of both continuous and lurching pulses increases logarithmically with the synaptic coupling strength g(syn) for an exponential footprint shape, and it is bounded for a step footprint shape. We conclude that the differences in velocity and shape between the front of thalamic spindle waves in vitro and cortical paroxysmal discharges stem from their different effective delay; in thalamic networks, large effective delay between inhibitory neurons arises from their effective interaction via the excitatory cells which display postinhibitory rebound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13480-13485
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - 9 Nov 1999


  • Discharge
  • Lurching
  • Neocortex
  • Pulse
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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