The roles of neuromodulation in a neural network, such as in a cortical microcolumn, are still incompletely understood. Neuromodulation influences neural processing by presynaptic and postsynaptic regulation of synaptic efficacy. Synaptic efficacy modulation can be an effective way to rapidly alter network density and topology. We show that altering network topology, together with density, will affect its synchronization. Fast synaptic efficacy modulation may therefore influence the amount of correlated spiking in a network. Neuromodulation also affects ion channel regulation for intrinsic excitability, which alters the neuron’s activation function. We show that synchronization in a network influences the read-out of these intrinsic properties. Highly synchronous input drives neurons, such that differences in intrinsic properties disappear, while asynchronous input lets intrinsic properties determine output behavior. Thus, altering network topology can alter the balance between intrinsically vs. synaptically driven network activity. We conclude that neuromodulation may allow a network to shift between a more synchronized transmission mode and a more asynchronous intrinsic read-out mode.
Neuromodulation Influences Synchronization and Intrinsic Read-out