The thalamus as a low pass filter: filtering at the cellular level does not equate with filtering at the network level.

Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 2016;9 DOI 10.3389/fncir.2015.00089


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Frontiers in Neural Circuits

ISSN: 1662-5110 (Online)

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Internal medicine: Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB, XML



William Martin Connelly (Australian National University)

William Martin Connelly (Cardiff University)

Michael eLaing (Cardiff University)

Adam Clarke Errington (Cardiff University)

Vincenzo eCrunelli (Cardiff University)

Vincenzo eCrunelli (University of Malta)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 14 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

In the mammalian central nervous system, most sensory information passes through primary sensory thalamic nuclei, however the consequence of this remains unclear. Various propositions exist, likening the thalamus to a gate, or a high pass filter. Here, using a simple leaky integrate and fire model based on physiological parameters, we show that the thalamus behaves akin to a low pass filter. Specifically, as individual cells in the thalamus rely on consistent drive to spike, stimuli that is rapidly and continuously changing over time such that it activates sensory cells with different receptive fields are unable to drive thalamic spiking. This means that thalamic encoding is robust to sensory noise, however it induces a lag in sensory representation. Thus the thalamus stabilises encoding of sensory information, at the cost of response rate.