Synaptic Excitatory-Inhibitory Balance Underlying Efficient Neural Coding

  • Shanglin Zhou
  • Yuguo YuEmail author
Part of the Advances in Neurobiology book series (NEUROBIOL, volume 21)


Both theoretical and experimental evidence indicate that synaptic excitation and inhibition in the cerebral cortex are well-balanced during the resting state and sensory processing. Here, we briefly summarize the evidence for how neural circuits are adjusted to achieve this balance. Then, we discuss how such excitatory and inhibitory balance shapes stimulus representation and information propagation, two basic functions of neural coding. We also point out the benefit of adopting such a balance during neural coding. We conclude that excitatory and inhibitory balance may be a fundamental mechanism underlying efficient coding.


Stimulus representation Information propagation Excitatory-inhibitory balance Sparse coding 



YY thanks for the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81761128011, 31571070), Shanghai Science and Technology Committee support (16410722600), the program for the Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar SHH1140004) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning, and Omics-based precision medicine of epilepsy entrusted by the Key Research Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0904400) for their support.

Author Contributions

Yuguo Yu and Shanglin Zhou designed research; Yuguo Yu and Shanglin Zhou performed research; Shanglin Zhou and Yuguo Yu wrote the paper. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Medical NeurobiologySchool of Life Science and Human Phenome Institute, Institutes of Brain Science, Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-Inspired Intelligence, Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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