October 29, 2013
Phase response properties of half-center oscillators
Joint work with Tim Lewis
Central pattern generators (CPGs) are specialized neuronal circuits in the central nervous system that produce rhythmic activity in the absence of afferent feedback or rhythmic input. Almost all rhythmic movements of animals (e.g., walking, swimming, breathing, chewing, etc.) are programmed at least in part by CPGs. While maintaining rhythmic activity, CPGs must be able to adjust their activity and respond appropriately (e.g., shift their phase or regulate their frequency) to input from higher centers and sensory feedback. Furthermore, behaviors such as locomotion are controlled by a network of interconnected CPG modules that interact to produce the limb or segmented-body movements necessary for effective locomotion, and therefore CPG modules must adjust their phases in response to input from other modules in order to produce the properly coordinated activity. In this talk, I explore the response properties of CPGs by examining the phase response characteristics of an idealized half-center oscillator (HCO) model, which consists of two neurons (or neuronal populations) connected by reciprocal inhibition. This half-centered organization is integral to many CPG circuits.