Stochastic versus deterministic variability in simple neuronal circuits: I. Monosynaptic spinal cord reflexes

T. Chang, S. J. Schiff, T. Sauer, J. P. Gossard, R. E. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Long time series of monosynaptic Ia-afferent to alpha-motoneuron reflexes were recorded in the L7 or S1 ventral roots in the cat. Time series were collected before and after spinalization at T13 during constant amplitude stimulations of group Ia muscle afferents in the triceps surae muscle nerves. Using autocorrelation to analyze the linear correlation in the time series demonstrated oscillations in the decerebrate state (4/4) that were eliminated after spinalization (5/5). Three tests for determinism were applied to these series: 1) local flow, 2) local dispersion, and 3) nonlinear prediction. These algorithms were validated with time series generated from known deterministic equations. For each experimental and theoretical time series used, matched time-series of stochastic surrogate data were generated to serve as mathematical and statistical controls. Two of the time series collected in the decerebrate state (2/4) demonstrated evidence for deterministic structure. This structure could not be accounted for by the autocorrelation in the data, and was abolished following spinalization. None of the time series collected in the spinalized state (0/5) demonstrated evidence of determinism. Although monosynaptic reflex variability is generally stochastic in the spinalized state, this simple driven system may display deterministic behavior in the decerebrate state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-683
Number of pages13
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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