Istituto di Biofisica     
Petracchi D., Barbi M., Chillemi S., Pantazelou E., Pierson D., Dames C., Wilkens L., Moss F. A test for a biological signal encoded by noise. In: International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, vol. 5 (1) pp. 89 - 100. World Scientific, 1995.
We consider here a simple example of stimulated sensory neurons operating under the influence of their own internal noise: the hair mechanoreceptor of the crayfish stimulated by a weak, periodic, hydrodynamic signal. Action potential spike trains from the sensory neuron are recorded and assembled into two objects for analysis: the interspike interval histogram (ISIH) and the cycle histogram of the spike density. A time transformation is carried out on the ISIH's in order to test the hypothesis that the spike train is basically random and that the probability of coherent spike generation is related to the instantaneous stimulus amplitude. Moreover it is shown that the physiological spike train data can be qualitatively mimicked by an electronic Fitzhugh-Nagumo model, operated in the subcritical mode, driven by noise and a weak periodic signal. A discussion of how the Fitzhugh-Nagumo model is properly operated to mimic noisy data from sensory neurons is included.
Subject FHN model
Crayfish mechanoreceptor
Stochastic and deterministic phase-locking

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