Plastic neural network with transmission delays promotes equivalence between function and structure

Fernando S. Borges, Antonio Marcos Batista, Murilo Baptista, Iberê Luiz Caldas, Elbert E. N. Macau, Ewandson Luiz Lameu, Paulo Ricardo Protachevicz* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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The brain is formed by cortical regions that are associated with different cognitive functions. Neurons within the same region are more likely to connect than neurons in distinct regions, making the brain network to have characteristics of a network of subnetworks. The values of synaptic delays between neurons of different subnetworks are greater than those of the same subnetworks. This difference in communication time between neurons has consequences on the firing patterns observed in the brain, which is directly related to changes in neural connectivity, known as synaptic plasticity. In this work, we build a plastic network of Hodgkin–Huxley neurons in which the connectivity modifications follow a spike-time dependent rule. We define an internal-delay among neurons communicating within the same subnetwork, an external-delay for neurons belonging to distinct subnetworks, and study how these communicating delays affect the entire network dynamics. We observe that the neuronal network exhibits a specific connectivity configuration for each synchronised pattern. Our results show how synaptic delays and plasticity work together to promote the formation of structural coupling among the neuronal subnetworks. We conclude that plastic neuronal networks are able to promote equivalence between function and structure meaning that topology emerges from behaviour and behaviour emerges from topology, creating a complex dynamical process where topology adapts to conform with the plastic rules and firing patterns reflect the changes on the synaptic weights.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113480
Number of pages9
JournalChaos, Solitons and Fractals
Early online date26 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge the financial support from São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, Brazil) (Grants Nos. 2016/23398-8, 2017/13502-5, 2018/03211-6, 2020/04624-2, 2022/05153-9, 2022/13761-9), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Fundação Araucária and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) .


  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Hodgkin–Huxley model
  • Neural dynamics
  • Synchronisation


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