This is the readme.txt for the L5 PFC microcircuit from the paper:

Papoutsi A, Sidiropoulou K, Poirazi P.
"Dendritic nonlinearities reduce network size requirements and mediate
ON and OFF states of persistent activity in a PFC microcircuit
model". Plos Computational Biology 2014.

Also used in:

Papoutsi A.,Sidiropoulou K, Cutsuridis V., Poirazi P.
"Induction and modulation of persistent activity in a layer V PFC
microcircuit model". Frontiers in Neural Circuits 2013.


Technological advances have unraveled the existence of small clusters
of co-active neurons in the neocortex. The functional implications of
these microcircuits are in large part unexplored. Using a heavily
constrained biophysical model of a L5 PFC microcircuit, we recently
showed that these structures act as tunable modules of persistent
activity, the cellular correlate of working memory. Here, we
investigate the mechanisms that underlie persistent activity emergence
(ON) and termination (OFF) and search for the minimum network size
required for expressing these states within physiological regimes. We
show that (a) NMDA-mediated dendritic spikes gate the induction of
persistent firing in the microcircuit. (b) The minimum network size
required for persistent activity induction is inversely proportional
to the synaptic drive of each excitatory neuron. (c) Relaxation of
connectivity and synaptic delay constrains eliminates the gating
effect of NMDA spikes, albeit at a cost of much larger networks.  (d)
Persistent activity termination by increased inhibition depends on the
strength of the synaptic input and is negatively modulated by
dADP. (e) Slow synaptic mechanisms and network activity contain
predictive information regarding the ability of a given stimulus to
turn ON and/or OFF persistent firing in the microcircuit
model. Overall, this study zooms out from dendrites to cell assemblies
and suggests a tight interaction between dendritic non-linearities and
network properties (size/connectivity) that may facilitate the
short-memory function of the PFC.

Model usage:

This code was written in and requires NEURON which is freely available

Download and expand this archive and compile the mod files located in
the "mechanisms" folder with nrnivmodl (this model was run under the
unix/linux operating systems).

In the experiment folder:

'incell.hoc' is the setup of the interneurons
'pfc_pc_temp.hoc' is the setup of the pyramidal neurons.
'net.hoc' is the microcircuit setup and the stimulation protocol.
'values_NMDA.hoc' has the conductances for the nmda for the different
  ratios used.
'importBackgroundStimParams.hoc' has indicative time points of
  backgrouns synaptic activity.
'vecstim.hoc' implements background synaptic activity.
'validation.hoc' has the validation protocol. The specific parameters
  show the validated NMDA current, as in Supporting Figure 1A.  To run
  validation.hoc execute the run_validation.
'experiment.hoc' has the experimental protocol. The specific
  parameters show persistent activity in the microcircuit for the ratio
  2.3 and the generation of the dendritic plateau potential, as in
  Figure 3A,C.  To run experiment.hoc execute the run_experiment in the
  experiment folder (this will be the same as the auto-launch demo
  started from mosinit.hoc).  After short while these graphs should


For questions or comments please contact:
Papoutsi Athanasia 
athpapoutsi at
Poirazi Panayiota
poirazi at
Computational Biology group
Foundation of Research and Technology
Crete, Greece

The model files are also available at the web site: