"Neurons in the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract (rNST) convey taste information to both local circuits and pathways destined for forebrain structures. This nucleus is more than a simple relay, however, because rNST neurons differ in response rates and tuning curves relative to primary afferent fibers. To systematically study the impact of convergence and inhibition on firing frequency and breadth of tuning (BOT) in rNST, we constructed a mathematical model of its two major cell types: projection neurons and inhibitory neurons. First, we fit a conductance-based neuronal model to data derived from whole cell patch-clamp recordings of inhibitory and noninhibitory neurons in a mouse expressing Venus under the control of the VGAT promoter. We then used in vivo chorda tympani (CT) taste responses as afferent input to modeled neurons and assessed how the degree and type of convergence influenced model cell output frequency and BOT for comparison with in vivo gustatory responses from the rNST. Finally, we assessed how presynaptic and postsynaptic inhibition impacted model cell output. ..."
Boxwell A, Terman D, Frank M, Yanagawa Y, Travers JB (2018) A computational analysis of signal fidelity in the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract. J Neurophysiol 119:771-785 [PubMed]