The subject of this chapter is the implementation and use of artificial synapses. We discuss principles of advanced techniques to simulate and physically implement artificial synaptic connections in networks of biological, as well as artificial, neurons and commonly referred to as "dynamic clamp". Next, we show examples of single neuronal responses under the action of simulated synaptic bombardment in three biological preparations. The chapter also addresses how artificial synapses advance the research on dynamics and information processing in single neurons and circuits. Modern computers equipped with sophisticated multifunctional AD/DA acquisition boards and running dynamic clamp software give the experimenters the ability to perform such ambitious experiments. The author, being a neurophysiologist and working on neuronal networks in various biological preparations, acquired a decade-long experience in performing dynamic clamp experiments and creating hybrid circuits. As one of the prime experimental models of oscillatory neural circuits, the lobster stomatogastric ganglion will be introduced and several examples of inserted artificial synapses will be shown. Besides invertebrate preparations, an impressive repertoire of dynamic clamp studies have been performed on mammalian nervous systems too. As all these studies demonstrate, simulated, computer-controlled synaptic connections not only reproduce the natural operation of the neuronal assemblies, but also help in understanding the principles of network coordination and the functional aspects of short- and long-term synaptic plasticity in the nervous system.
|Title of host publication||Neural Synapse Research Trends|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||50|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1 2007|
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