Synthesis of models for excitable membranes, synaptic transmission and neuromodulation using a common kinetic formalism
Alain Destexhe, Zachary F. Mainen and Terrence J. Sejnowski

Journal of Computational Neuroscience 1: 195-230, 1994.

Copy of the full paper (PDF)
Markov kinetic models were used to synthesize a complete description of synaptic transmission, including opening of voltage-dependent channels in the presynaptic terminal, release of neurotransmitter, gating of postsynaptic receptors, and activation of second-messenger systems. These kinetic schemes provide a more general framework for modeling ion channels than the Hodgkin-Huxley formalism, supporting a continuous spectrum of descriptions ranging from the very simple and computationally efficient to the highly complex and biophysically precise. Examples are given of simple kinetic schemes based on fits to experimental data that capture the essential properties of voltage-gated, synaptic and neuromodulatory currents. The Markov formalism allows the dynamics of ionic currents to be considered naturally in the larger context of biochemical signal transduction. This framework can facilitate the integration of a wide range of experimental data and promote consistent theoretical analysis of neural mechanisms from molecular interactions to network computations.
NEURON demo:
This tar file creates a directory containing a demo for running the models of synaptic receptors using the Interviews version of the NEURON simulator. The simulation reproduce the figures of the Neural Computation paper and the J. Comput. Neurosci. paper (above), in which all details are given.

See also This package shows how to implement biophysical models of synaptic interactions using NEURON. Both detailed and simplified models of synaptic currents and most useful types of postsynaptic receptors (AMPA, NMDA, GABA_A, GABA_B, neuromodulators) are described in a reference paper. We provide here the complement to simulate the same models using NEURON. The reference paper is a chapter in the book “Methods in Neuronal Modeling”:

Destexhe, A., Mainen, Z.F. and Sejnowski, T.J. Kinetic models of synaptic transmission.
In: Methods in Neuronal Modeling , 2nd Edition, Edited by Koch, C. and Segev, I., MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998, pp. 1-25

in which all details are given. More instructions are provided in a README file.