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YEAR : 2019

Past and future of analog-digital modulation of synaptic transmission

AUTHORS : Zbili M, Debanne D.

JOURNAL : Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Action potentials are generally produced in response to complex summation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs. While it is usually considered as a digital event, both the amplitude and width of the action potential are significantly impacted by the context of its emission. In particular, the analog variations in subthreshold membrane potential determine the spike waveform and subsequently affect synaptic strength, leading to the so-called analog-digital modulation of synaptic transmission. We review here the numerous evidence of context-dependent modulation of spike waveform, the discovery analog-digital modulation of synaptic transmission in invertebrates and its recent validation in mammals. We discuss the potential roles of analog-digital transmission in the physiology of neural networks.