Week 6: Modeling Mechanosensory Stimulation

Last week we finished tuning odor stimulation. This week, we move on to a new type of stimulation: mechanosensory. Mechanosensory stimulation is the result of physical stimuli, such as wind against skin while moving. Preliminary studies have shown that mechanosensory stimulation indeed has an effect on the firing rate in the Antennal Lobe, so we are interested in how the combination of mechanosensory stimulation and odor stimulation leads to sensory perception. In order to study this, we first must code mechanosensory stimulation.


In our model, mechanosensory stimulation varied only slightly from odor stimulation. While odor targeted only specific glomeruli, mechanosensory stimulation affected all glomeruli. As a result, mechanosensory stimulation was also made weaker than odor stimulation so that the total current from each type of stimulus was approximately constant.


In reality, mechanosensory stimulation results in drastically different behavior from odor stimulation. While odor stimulation results in long periods of increased firing, mechanosensory stimulation only results in an ephemeral increase in firing rate. As shown in the raster plot below, our model was able to reproduce this short-lived response with only the small changes that we needed to make. This shows how sensitive our model truly is to small changes in We hypothesize that the interglomerular local neuron synapses are able to silence the projection neurons much more quickly when all glomeruli are stimulated versus when only a few glomeruli are stimulated, thus leading to this behavior.




Now that we have both odor stimulation and mechanosensory stimulation, we are interested in observing the interplay between the two. Next week, we will consider how these stimulations affect each other when they are presented at the same time.

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