Role of spike-frequency adaptation in shaping neuronal response to dynamic stimuli

Simon Peter Peron, Fabrizio Gabbiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spike-frequency adaptation is the reduction of a neuron's firing rate to a stimulus of constant intensity. In the locust, the Lobula Giant Movement Detector (LGMD) is a visual interneuron that exhibits rapid adaptation to both current injection and visual stimuli. Here, a reduced compartmental model of the LGMD is employed to explore adaptation's role in selectivity for stimuli whose intensity changes with time. We show that supralinearly increasing current injection stimuli are best at driving a high spike count in the response, while linearly increasing current injection stimuli (i.e., ramps) are best at attaining large firing rate changes in an adapting neuron. This result is extended with in vivo experiments showing that the LGMD's response to translating stimuli having a supralinear velocity profile is larger than the response to constant or linearly increasing velocity translation. Furthermore, we show that the LGMD's preference for approaching versus receding stimuli can partly be accounted for by adaptation. Finally, we show that the LGMD's adaptation mechanism appears well tuned to minimize sensitivity for the level of basal input.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-520
Number of pages16
JournalBiological cybernetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Collision avoidance
  • DCMD
  • Insect vision
  • LGMD
  • Single neuron computation
  • Spike-frequency adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Computer Science


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