The paper considers an excitable Hodgkin-Huxley system subjected to a strong periodic forcing in the presence of random noise. The influence of the forcing frequency on the response of the system is examined in the realm of suprathreshold amplitudes. Our results confirm that the presence of noise has a detrimental effect on the neuronal response. Fluctuations can induce significant delays in the detection of an external signal. We demonstrate, however, that this negative influence may be minimized by a resonant activation effect: Both the mean escape time and its standard deviation exhibit a minimum as functions of the forcing frequency. The destructive influence of noise on the interspike interval can also be reduced. With driving signals in a certain frequency range, the system can show stable periodic spiking even for relatively large noise intensities. Outside this frequency range, noise of similar intensity destroys the regularity of the spike trains by suppressing the generation of some of the spikes.
European Physical Journal B. Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, 2005, Vol 45, Issue 3, p. 391-397