Dendritic spiking accounts for rate and phase coding in a biophysical model of a hippocampal place cell


Hippocampal place cells provide prototypical examples of neurons firing jointly phase and rate coded spike trains. We propose a biophysical mechanism accounting for the generation of place cell firing at the single neuron level. An interplay between external theta-modulated excitation impinging the dendrite and intrinsic dendritic spiking as well as between frequency modulated dendritic spiking and periodic somatic hyperpolarization was a key element of the model. Through these interactions robust phase and rate coded firing emerged in the model place cell, reproducing salient experimentally observed properties of place cell firing.