Bursting Oscillations

  • G. Bard ErmentroutEmail author
  • David H. Terman
Part of the Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics book series (IAM, volume 35)


Many neurons exhibit much more complicated firing patterns than simple repetitive firing. A common mode of firing in many neurons and other excitable cells is bursting oscillations. This is characterized by a silent phase of near-steady-state resting behavior alternating with an active phase of rapid, spikelike oscillations. Examples of bursting behavior are shown in Fig. 5.1. Note that bursting arises in neuronal structures throughout the central nervous system. Bursting activity in certain thalamic cells, for example, is implicated in the generation of sleep rhythms, whereas patients with parkinsonian tremor exhibit increased bursting activity in neurons within the basal ganglia. Cells involved in the generation of respiratory rhythms within the pre-Botzinger complex also display bursting oscillations.


Periodic Orbit Bifurcation Diagram Homoclinic Orbit Slow Variable Silent Phase 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. MathematicsUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Dept. MathematicsOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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