Phase-locking of bursting neuronal firing to dominant LFP frequency components

Constantinou, Maria; Elijah, Daniel H.; Squirrell, Daniel; Gigg, John and Montemurro, Marcelo A. (2015). Phase-locking of bursting neuronal firing to dominant LFP frequency components. BioSystems, 136 pp. 73–79.



Neuronal firing in the hippocampal formation relative to the phase of local field potentials (LFP) has a key role in memory processing and spatial navigation. Firing can be in either tonic or burst mode. Although bursting neurons are common in the hippocampal formation, the characteristics of their locking to LFP phase are not completely understood. We investigated phase-locking properties of bursting neurons using simulations generated by a dual compartmental model of a pyramidal neuron adapted to match the bursting activity in the subiculum of a rat. The model was driven with stochastic input signals containing a power spectral profile consistent with physiologically relevant frequencies observed in LFP. The single spikes and spike bursts fired by the model were locked to a preferred phase of the predominant frequency band where there was a peak in the power of the driving signal. Moreover, the preferred phase of locking shifted with increasing burst size, providing evidence that LFP phase can be encoded by burst size. We also provide initial support for the model results by analysing example data of spontaneous LFP and spiking activity recorded from the subiculum of a single urethane-anaesthetised rat. Subicular neurons fired single spikes, two-spike bursts and larger bursts that locked to a preferred phase of either dominant slow oscillations or theta rhythms within the LFP, according to the model prediction. Both power-modulated phase-locking and gradual shift in the preferred phase of locking as a function of burst size suggest that neurons can use bursts to encode timing information contained in LFP phase into a spike-count code.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions