An unnoticed chaotic firing pattern, lying between period-1 and period-2 firing patterns, has received little attention over the past 20 years since it was first simulated in the Hindmarsh-Rose (HR) model. In the present study, the rat sciatic nerve model of chronic constriction injury (CCI) was used as an experimental neural pacemaker to investigate the transition regularities of spontaneous firing patterns. Chaotic firing lying between period-1 and period-2 firings was observed located in four bifurcation scenarios in different, isolated neural pacemakers. These bifurcation scenarios were induced by decreasing extracellular calcium concentrations. The behaviors after period-2 firing pattern in the four scenarios were period-doubling bifurcation not to chaos, period-doubling bifurcation to chaos, period-adding sequences with chaotic firings, and period-adding sequences with stochastic firings. The deterministic structure of the chaotic firing pattern was identified by the first return map of interspike intervals and a short-term prediction using nonlinear prediction. The experimental observations closely match those simulated in a two-dimensional parameter space using the HR model, providing strong evidences of the existence of chaotic firing lying between period-1 and period-2 firing patterns in the actual nervous system. The results also present relationships in the parameter space between this chaotic firing and other firing patterns, such as the chaotic firings that appear after period-2 firing pattern located within the well-known comb-shaped region, periodic firing patterns and stochastic firing patterns, as predicted by the HR model. We hope that this study can focus attention on and help to further the understanding of the unnoticed chaotic neural firing pattern.
Cortical oscillatory signals of single and double tremor frequencies act together to cause tremor in the peripheral limbs of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). But the corticospinal pathway that transmits the tremor signals has not been clarified, and how alternating bursts of antagonistic muscle activations are generated from the cortical oscillatory signals is not well understood. This paper investigates the plausible role of propriospinal neurons (PN) in C3–C4 in transmitting the cortical oscillatory signals to peripheral muscles. Kinematics data and surface electromyogram (EMG) of tremor in forearm were collected from PD patients. A PN network model was constructed based on known neurophysiological connections of PN. The cortical efferent signal of double tremor frequencies were integrated at the PN network, whose outputs drove the muscles of a virtual arm (VA) model to simulate tremor behaviors. The cortical efferent signal of single tremor frequency actuated muscle spindles. By comparing tremor data of PD patients and the results of model simulation, we examined two hypotheses regarding the corticospinal transmission of oscillatory signals in Parkinsonian tremor. Hypothesis I stated that the oscillatory cortical signals were transmitted via the mono-synaptic corticospinal pathways bypassing the PN network. The alternative hypothesis II stated that they were transmitted by way of PN multi-synaptic corticospinal pathway. Simulations indicated that without the PN network, the alternating burst patterns of antagonistic muscle EMGs could not be reliably generated, rejecting the first hypothesis. However, with the PN network, the alternating burst patterns of antagonist EMGs were naturally reproduced under all conditions of cortical oscillations. The results suggest that cortical commands of single and double tremor frequencies are further processed at PN to compute the alternating burst patterns in flexor and extensor muscles, and the neuromuscular dynamics demonstrated a frequency dependent damping on tremor, which may prevent tremor above 8 Hz to occur.
The mammalian hippocampus expresses several types of network oscillations which entrain neurons into transiently stable assemblies. These groups of co-active neurons are believed to support the formation, consolidation and recall of context-dependent memories. Formation of new assemblies occurs during theta- and gamma-oscillations under conditions of high cholinergic activity. Memory consolidation is linked to sharp wave-ripple oscillations (SPW-R) during decreased cholinergic tone. We hypothesized that increased cholinergic tone supports plastic changes of assemblies while low cholinergic tone favors their stability. Coherent spatiotemporal network patterns were measured during SPW-R activity in mouse hippocampal slices. We compared neuronal activity within the oscillating assemblies before and after a transient phase of carbachol-induced gamma oscillations. Single units maintained their coupling to SPW-R throughout the experiment and could be re-identified after the transient phase of gamma oscillations. However, the frequency of SPW-R-related unit firing was enhanced after muscarinic stimulation. At the network level, these changes resulted in altered patterns of extracellularly recorded SPW-R waveforms. In contrast, recording of ongoing SPW-R activity without intermittent cholinergic stimulation revealed remarkably stable repetitive activation of assemblies. These results show that activation of cholinergic receptors induces plasticity at the level of oscillating hippocampal assemblies, in line with the different role of gamma- and SPW-R network activity for memory formation and –consolidation, respectively.
Our knowledge about the neural code in the auditory nerve is based to a large extent on experiments on cats. Several anatomical differences between auditory neurons in human and cat are expected to lead to functional differences in speed and safety of spike conduction.
Confocal microscopy was used to systematically evaluate peripheral and central process diameters, commonness of myelination and morphology of spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) along the cochlea of three human and three cats. Based on these morphometric data, model analysis reveales that spike conduction in SGNs is characterized by four phases: a postsynaptic delay, constant velocity in the peripheral process, a presomatic delay and constant velocity in the central process. The majority of SGNs are type I, connecting the inner hair cells with the brainstem. In contrast to those of humans, type I neurons of the cat are entirely myelinated. Biophysical model evaluation showed delayed and weak spikes in the human soma region as a consequence of a lack of myelin. The simulated spike conduction times are in accordance with normal interwave latencies from auditory brainstem response recordings from man and cat. Simulated 400 pA postsynaptic currents from inner hair cell ribbon synapses were 15 times above threshold. They enforced quick and synchronous spiking. Both of these properties were not present in type II cells as they receive fewer and much weaker (∼26 pA) synaptic stimuli.
Wasting synaptic energy boosts spike initiation, which guarantees the rapid transmission of temporal fine structure of auditory signals. However, a lack of myelin in the soma regions of human type I neurons causes a large delay in spike conduction in comparison with cat neurons. The absent myelin, in combination with a longer peripheral process, causes quantitative differences of temporal parameters in the electrically stimulated human cochlea compared to the cat cochlea.
channels are uniquely positioned to act as neuromodulatory control points for tuning hippocampal theta (4–12 Hz) and gamma (25 Hz) oscillations, oscillations which are thought to have importance for organization of information flow. contributes to neuronal membrane resonance and resting membrane potential, and is modulated by second messengers. We investigated oscillatory control using a multiscale computer model of hippocampal CA3, where each cell class (pyramidal, basket, and oriens-lacunosum moleculare cells), contained type-appropriate isoforms of . Our model demonstrated that modulation of pyramidal and basket allows tuning theta and gamma oscillation frequency and amplitude. Pyramidal also controlled cross-frequency coupling (CFC) and allowed shifting gamma generation towards particular phases of the theta cycle, effected via 's ability to set pyramidal excitability. Our model predicts that in vivo neuromodulatory control of allows flexibly controlling CFC and the timing of gamma discharges at particular theta phases.
In vitro, Purkinje cell behaviour is sometimes studied in a dissociated soma preparation in which the dendritic projection has been cleaved. A fraction of these dissociated somas spontaneously burst. The mechanism of this bursting is incompletely understood. We have constructed a biophysical Purkinje soma model, guided and constrained by experimental reports in the literature, that can replicate the somatically driven bursting pattern and which hypothesises Persistent Na+ current (INaP) to be its burst initiator and SK K+ current (ISK) to be its burst terminator.
The question of how the structure of a neuronal network affects its functionality has gained a lot of attention in neuroscience. However, the vast majority of the studies on structure-dynamics relationships consider few types of network structures and assess limited numbers of structural measures. In this in silico study, we employ a wide diversity of network topologies and search among many possibilities the aspects of structure that have the greatest effect on the network excitability. The network activity is simulated using two point-neuron models, where the neurons are activated by noisy fluctuation of the membrane potential and their connections are described by chemical synapse models, and statistics on the number and quality of the emergent network bursts are collected for each network type. We apply a prediction framework to the obtained data in order to find out the most relevant aspects of network structure. In this framework, predictors that use different sets of graph-theoretic measures are trained to estimate the activity properties, such as burst count or burst length, of the networks. The performances of these predictors are compared with each other. We show that the best performance in prediction of activity properties for networks with sharp in-degree distribution is obtained when the prediction is based on clustering coefficient. By contrast, for networks with broad in-degree distribution, the maximum eigenvalue of the connectivity graph gives the most accurate prediction. The results shown for small () networks hold with few exceptions when different neuron models, different choices of neuron population and different average degrees are applied. We confirm our conclusions using larger () networks as well. Our findings reveal the relevance of different aspects of network structure from the viewpoint of network excitability, and our integrative method could serve as a general framework for structure-dynamics studies in biosciences.
Attentional networks that integrate many cortical and subcortical elements dynamically control mental processes to focus on specific events and make a decision. The resources of attentional processing are finite. Nevertheless, we often face situations in which it is necessary to simultaneously process several modalities, for example, to switch attention between players in a soccer field. Here we use a global brain mode description to build a model of attentional control dynamics. This model is based on sequential information processing stability conditions that are realized through nonsymmetric inhibition in cortical circuits. In particular, we analyze the dynamics of attentional switching and focus in the case of parallel processing of three interacting mental modalities. Using an excitatory-inhibitory network, we investigate how the bifurcations between different attentional control strategies depend on the stimuli and analyze the relationship between the time of attention focus and the strength of the stimuli. We discuss the interplay between attention and decision-making: in this context, a decision-making process is a controllable bifurcation of the attention strategy. We also suggest the dynamical evaluation of attentional resources in neural sequence processing.
Recent physiological studies have shown that neurons in various regions of the central nervous systems continuously receive noisy excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs in a balanced and covaried fashion. While this balanced synaptic input (BSI) is typically described in terms of maintaining the stability of neural circuits, a number of experimental and theoretical studies have suggested that BSI plays a proactive role in brain functions such as top-down modulation for executive control. Two issues have remained unclear in this picture. First, given the noisy nature of neuronal activities in neural circuits, how do the modulatory effects change if the top-down control implements BSI with different ratios between inhibition and excitation? Second, how is a top-down BSI realized via only excitatory long-range projections in the neocortex? To address the first issue, we systematically tested how the inhibition/excitation ratio affects the accuracy and reaction times of a spiking neural circuit model of perceptual decision. We defined an energy function to characterize the network dynamics, and found that different ratios modulate the energy function of the circuit differently and form two distinct functional modes. To address the second issue, we tested BSI with long-distance projection to inhibitory neurons that are either feedforward or feedback, depending on whether these inhibitory neurons do or do not receive inputs from local excitatory cells, respectively. We found that BSI occurs in both cases. Furthermore, when relying on feedback inhibitory neurons, through the recurrent interactions inside the circuit, BSI dynamically and automatically speeds up the decision by gradually reducing its inhibitory component in the course of a trial when a decision process takes too long.
Flexibility in neuronal circuits has its roots in the dynamical richness of their neurons. Depending on their membrane properties single neurons can produce a plethora of activity regimes including silence, spiking and bursting. What is less appreciated is that these regimes can coexist with each other so that a transient stimulus can cause persistent change in the activity of a given neuron. Such multistability of the neuronal dynamics has been shown in a variety of neurons under different modulatory conditions. It can play either a functional role or present a substrate for dynamical diseases. We considered a database of an isolated leech heart interneuron model that can display silent, tonic spiking and bursting regimes. We analyzed only the cases of endogenous bursters producing functional half-center oscillators (HCOs). Using a one parameter (the leak conductance ()) bifurcation analysis, we extended the database to include silent regimes (stationary states) and systematically classified cases for the coexistence of silent and bursting regimes. We showed that different cases could exhibit two stable depolarized stationary states and two hyperpolarized stationary states in addition to various spiking and bursting regimes. We analyzed all cases of endogenous bursters and found that 18% of the cases were multistable, exhibiting coexistences of stationary states and bursting. Moreover, 91% of the cases exhibited multistability in some range of . We also explored HCOs built of multistable neuron cases with coexisting stationary states and a bursting regime. In 96% of cases analyzed, the HCOs resumed normal alternating bursting after one of the neurons was reset to a stationary state, proving themselves robust against this perturbation.
It is often not appreciated that different activity regimes can coexist with each other in a given neuron so that a transient stimulus can cause a persistent change of activity. Such multistability of the neuronal dynamics has in fact been shown in a variety of neurons and can play either a functional role or present a substrate for neurological diseases. We explored the propensity for multistability in a database of a leech heart interneuron model, testing each case (parameter set) in a database for multistability. We found a large proportion of multistable cases, especially the coexistence of silent and bursting regimes. This was a surprising result, since these cells pace the heartbeat of the leech, and the coexistence of silence and bursting could disrupt the functional pattern, threatening the viability of the leech. Analysis of networks of mutually inhibitory multistable neurons, however, showed robustness in maintaining functional activity, suggesting that the mutually inhibitory coupling can act as a protective mechanism against failures induced by multistability.
Interneurons in the olfactory bulb are key elements of odor processing but their roles have not yet being fully understood. Two types of inhibitory interneurons, periglomerular and granule cells, act at two different levels within the olfactory bulb and may have different roles in coordinating the spiking of mitral cells, which are the principal output neurons of the olfactory bulb. In this work we introduce a reduced compartmental model of the periglomerular cell and use it to investigate its role on mitral cell spiking in a model of an elementary cell triad composed of these two cell types plus a granule cell. Our simulation results show that the periglomerular cell is more effective in inhibiting the mitral cell than the granule cell. Based on our results we predict that periglomerular and granule cells have different roles in the control of mitral cell spiking. The periglomerular cell would be the only one capable of completely inhibiting the mitral cell, and the activity decrease of the mitral cell through this inhibitory action would occur in a stepwise fashion depending on parameters of the periglomerular and granule cells as well as on the relative times of arrival of external stimuli to the three cells. The major role of the granule cell would be to facilitate the inhibitory action of the periglomerular cell by enlarging the range of parameters of the periglomerular cell which correspond to complete inhibition of the mitral cell. The combined action of the two interneurons would thus provide an efficient way of controling the instantaneous value of the firing rate of the mitral cell.
Shift work has become an integral part of our life with almost 20% of the population being involved in different shift schedules in developed countries. However, the atypical work times, especially the night shifts, are associated with reduced quality and quantity of sleep that leads to increase of sleepiness often culminating in accidents. It has been demonstrated that shift workers’ sleepiness can be improved by a proper scheduling of light exposure and optimizing shifts timing. Here, an integrated physiologically-based model of sleep-wake cycles is used to predict adaptation to shift work in different light conditions and for different shift start times for a schedule of four consecutive days of work. The integrated model combines a model of the ascending arousal system in the brain that controls the sleep-wake switch and a human circadian pacemaker model. To validate the application of the integrated model and demonstrate its utility, its dynamics are adjusted to achieve a fit to published experimental results showing adaptation of night shift workers (n = 8) in conditions of either bright or regular lighting. Further, the model is used to predict the shift workers’ adaptation to the same shift schedule, but for conditions not considered in the experiment. The model demonstrates that the intensity of shift light can be reduced fourfold from that used in the experiment and still produce good adaptation to night work. The model predicts that sleepiness of the workers during night shifts on a protocol with either bright or regular lighting can be significantly improved by starting the shift earlier in the night, e.g.; at 21∶00 instead of 00∶00. Finally, the study predicts that people of the same chronotype, i.e. with identical sleep times in normal conditions, can have drastically different responses to shift work depending on their intrinsic circadian and homeostatic parameters.
In vitro, cerebellar Purkinje cells can intrinsically fire action potentials in a repeating trimodal or bimodal pattern. The trimodal pattern consists of tonic spiking, bursting, and quiescence. The bimodal pattern consists of tonic spiking and quiescence. It is unclear how these firing patterns are generated and what determines which firing pattern is selected. We have constructed a realistic biophysical Purkinje cell model that can replicate these patterns. In this model, Na+/K+ pump activity sets the Purkinje cell's operating mode. From rat cerebellar slices we present Purkinje whole cell recordings in the presence of ouabain, which irreversibly blocks the Na+/K+ pump. The model can replicate these recordings. We propose that Na+/K+ pump activity controls the intrinsic firing mode of cerbellar Purkinje cells.
The mechanisms of long-term synaptic maintenance are a key component to understanding the mechanism of long-term memory. From biological experiments, a hypothesis arose that repetitive stimuli with appropriate intervals are essential to maintain new synapses for periods of longer than a few days. We successfully reproduce the time-course of relative numbers of synapses with our mathematical model in the same conditions as biological experiments, which used Adenosine-3′, 5′-cyclic monophosphorothioate, Sp-isomer (Sp-cAMPS) as external stimuli. We also reproduce synaptic maintenance responsiveness to intervals of Sp-cAMPS treatment accompanied by PKA activation. The model suggests a possible mechanism of sustainable synaptogenesis which consists of two steps. First, the signal transduction from an external stimulus triggers the synthesis of a new signaling protein. Second, the new signaling protein is required for the next signal transduction with the same stimuli. As a result, the network component is modified from the first network, and a different signal is transferred which triggers the synthesis of another new signaling molecule. We refer to this hypothetical mechanism as network succession. We build our model on the basis of two hypotheses: (1) a multi-step network succession induces downregulation of SSH and COFILIN gene expression, which triggers the production of stable F-actin; (2) the formation of a complex of stable F-actin with Drebrin at PSD is the critical mechanism to achieve long-term synaptic maintenance. Our simulation shows that a three-step network succession is sufficient to reproduce sustainable synapses for a period longer than 14 days. When we change the network structure to a single step network, the model fails to follow the exact condition of repetitive signals to reproduce a sufficient number of synapses. Another advantage of the three-step network succession is that this system indicates a greater tolerance of parameter changes than the single step network.
GABAergic function of the subiculum is central to the regulation of hippocampal output activity. Subicular neuronal networks are indeed under potent control by local inhibition. However, information about the properties of GABAergic currents generated by neurons of this parahippocampal area in normal tissue is still missing. Here, we describe GABAA receptor (GABAAR)-mediated phasic and tonic currents generated by principal cells (PCs) and interneurons (INs) of the rat subiculum. We show that in spite of similar synaptic current densities, INs generate spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) that occur less frequently and exhibit smaller charge transfer, thus receiving less synaptic total current than PCs. Further distinction of PCs between intrinsically bursting (IB) and regular-spiking (RS) neurons suggested that sIPSCs generated by the two PC sub-types are likely to be similar. PCs and INs are also controlled by a similar tonic inhibition. However, whereas a comparable tonic current density is found in RS cells and INs, IB neurons are constrained by a greater inhibitory tone. Finally, pharmacological blockade of GABAAR did not promote functional switch of RS neurons to IB mode, but influenced the bursting propensity of IB cells and released fast spiking activity in INs. Our findings reveal differences in GABAergic currents between PCs and INs as well as within PC sub-types. We propose that GABAergic inhibition may shape hippocampal output activity by providing cell type-specific fine-tuning of subicular excitatory and inhibitory drives.
For the purpose of elucidating the neural coding process based on the neural excitability mechanism, researchers have recently investigated the relationship between neural dynamics and the spike triggered stimulus ensemble (STE). Ermentrout et al. analytically derived the relational equation between the phase response curve (PRC) and the spike triggered average (STA). The STA is the first cumulant of the STE. However, in order to understand the neural function as the encoder more explicitly, it is necessary to elucidate the relationship between the PRC and higher-order cumulants of the STE. In this paper, we give a general formulation to relate the PRC and the nth moment of the STE. By using this formulation, we derive a relational equation between the PRC and the spike triggered covariance (STC), which is the covariance of the STE. We show the effectiveness of the relational equation through numerical simulations and use the equation to identify the feature space of the rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons from their PRCs. Our result suggests that the hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons oscillating in the theta frequency range are commonly sensitive to inputs composed of theta and gamma frequency components.
Sensorimotor control has traditionally been considered from a control theory perspective, without relation to neurobiology. In contrast, here we utilized a spiking-neuron model of motor cortex and trained it to perform a simple movement task, which consisted of rotating a single-joint “forearm” to a target. Learning was based on a reinforcement mechanism analogous to that of the dopamine system. This provided a global reward or punishment signal in response to decreasing or increasing distance from hand to target, respectively. Output was partially driven by Poisson motor babbling, creating stochastic movements that could then be shaped by learning. The virtual forearm consisted of a single segment rotated around an elbow joint, controlled by flexor and extensor muscles. The model consisted of 144 excitatory and 64 inhibitory event-based neurons, each with AMPA, NMDA, and GABA synapses. Proprioceptive cell input to this model encoded the 2 muscle lengths. Plasticity was only enabled in feedforward connections between input and output excitatory units, using spike-timing-dependent eligibility traces for synaptic credit or blame assignment. Learning resulted from a global 3-valued signal: reward (+1), no learning (0), or punishment (−1), corresponding to phasic increases, lack of change, or phasic decreases of dopaminergic cell firing, respectively. Successful learning only occurred when both reward and punishment were enabled. In this case, 5 target angles were learned successfully within 180 s of simulation time, with a median error of 8 degrees. Motor babbling allowed exploratory learning, but decreased the stability of the learned behavior, since the hand continued moving after reaching the target. Our model demonstrated that a global reinforcement signal, coupled with eligibility traces for synaptic plasticity, can train a spiking sensorimotor network to perform goal-directed motor behavior.
Conditional neuronal membrane potential oscillations have been identified as a potential mechanism to help support or generate rhythmogenesis in neural circuits. A genetically identified population of ventromedial interneurons, called Hb9, in the mouse spinal cord has been shown to generate TTX-resistant membrane potential oscillations in the presence of NMDA, serotonin and dopamine, but these oscillatory properties are not well characterized. Hb9 interneurons are rhythmically active during fictive locomotor-like behavior. In this study, we report that exogenous N-Methyl-D-Aspartic acid (NMDA) application is sufficient to produce membrane potential oscillations in Hb9 interneurons. In contrast, exogenous serotonin and dopamine application, alone or in combination, are not sufficient. The properties of NMDA-induced oscillations vary among the Hb9 interneuron population; their frequency and amplitude increase with increasing NMDA concentration. NMDA does not modulate the T-type calcium current (ICa(T)), which is thought to be important in generating locomotor-like activity, in Hb9 neurons. These results suggest that NMDA receptor activation is sufficient for the generation of TTX-resistant NMDA-induced membrane potential oscillations in Hb9 interneurons.
A ketogenic diet is an alternative treatment of epilepsy in infants. The diet, rich in fat and low in carbohydrates, elevates the level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in plasma. These substances have therefore been suggested to contribute to the anticonvulsive effect of the diet. PUFAs modulate the properties of a range of ion channels, including K and Na channels, and it has been hypothesized that these changes may be part of a mechanistic explanation of the ketogenic diet. Using computational modelling, we here study how experimentally observed PUFA-induced changes of ion channel activity affect neuronal excitability in CA1, in particular responses to synaptic input of high synchronicity. The PUFA effects were studied in two pathological models of cellular hyperexcitability associated with epileptogenesis. We found that experimentally derived PUFA modulation of the A-type K (KA) channel, but not the delayed-rectifier K channel, restored healthy excitability by selectively reducing the response to inputs of high synchronicity. We also found that PUFA modulation of the transient Na channel was effective in this respect if the channel's steady-state inactivation was selectively affected. Furthermore, PUFA-induced hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential was an effective approach to prevent hyperexcitability. When the combined effect of PUFA on the KA channel, the Na channel, and the resting membrane potential, was simulated, a lower concentration of PUFA was needed to restore healthy excitability. We therefore propose that one explanation of the beneficial effect of PUFAs lies in its simultaneous action on a range of ion-channel targets. Furthermore, this work suggests that a pharmacological cocktail acting on the voltage dependence of the Na-channel inactivation, the voltage dependences of KA channels, and the resting potential can be an effective treatment of epilepsy.
It has been demonstrated that neuronal cells cultured on traditional flat surfaces may exhibit exaggerated voltage gated calcium channel (VGCC) functionality. To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, primary neuronal cells harvested from mice superior cervical ganglion (SCG) were cultured on two dimensional (2D) flat surfaces and in three dimensional (3D) synthetic poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) and polystyrene (PS) polymer scaffolds. These 2D- and 3D-cultured cells were compared to cells in freshly dissected SCG tissues, with respect to intracellular calcium increase in response to high K+ depolarization. The calcium increases were identical for 3D-cultured and freshly dissected, but significantly higher for 2D-cultured cells. This finding established the physiological relevance of 3D-cultured cells. To shed light on the mechanism behind the exaggerated 2D-cultured cells’ functionality, transcriptase expression and related membrane protein distributions (caveolin-1) were obtained. Our results support the view that exaggerated VGCC functionality from 2D cultured SCG cells is possibly due to differences in membrane architecture, characterized by uniquely organized caveolar lipid rafts. The practical implication of use of 3D-cultured cells in preclinical drug discovery studies is that such platforms would be more effective in eliminating false positive hits and as such improve the overall yield from screening campaigns.
Many neurons display bistability–coexistence of two firing modes such as bursting and tonic spiking or tonic spiking and silence. Bistability has been proposed to endow neurons with richer forms of information processing in general and to be involved in short-term memory in particular by allowing a brief signal to elicit long-lasting changes in firing. In this paper, we focus on bistability that allows for a choice between tonic spiking and depolarization block in a wide range of the depolarization levels. We consider the spike-producing currents in two neurons, models of which differ by the parameter values. Our dopaminergic neuron model displays bistability in a wide range of applied currents at the depolarization block. The Hodgkin-Huxley model of the squid giant axon shows no bistability. We varied parameter values for the model to analyze transitions between the two parameter sets. We show that bistability primarily characterizes the inactivation of the Na+ current. Our study suggests a connection between the amount of the Na+ window current and the length of the bistability range. For the dopaminergic neuron we hypothesize that bistability can be linked to a prolonged action of antipsychotic drugs.
In this study we have constructed a mathematical model of a recently proposed functional model known to be responsible for inducing waking, NREMS and REMS. Simulation studies using this model reproduced sleep-wake patterns as reported in normal animals. The model helps to explain neural mechanism(s) that underlie the transitions between wake, NREMS and REMS as well as how both the homeostatic sleep-drive and the circadian rhythm shape the duration of each of these episodes. In particular, this mathematical model demonstrates and confirms that an underlying mechanism for REMS generation is pre-synaptic inhibition from substantia nigra onto the REM-off terminals that project on REM-on neurons, as has been recently proposed. The importance of orexinergic neurons in stabilizing the wake-sleep cycle is demonstrated by showing how even small changes in inputs to or from those neurons can have a large impact on the ensuing dynamics. The results from this model allow us to make predictions of the neural mechanisms of regulation and patho-physiology of REMS.
The exact origin of tremor in Parkinson’s disease remains unknown. We explain why the existing data converge on the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop as a tremor generator and consider a conductance-based model of subthalamo-pallidal circuits embedded into a simplified representation of the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical circuit to investigate the dynamics of this loop. We show how variation of the strength of dopamine-modulated connections in the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop (representing the decreasing dopamine level in Parkinson’s disease) leads to the occurrence of tremor-like burst firing. These tremor-like oscillations are suppressed when the connections are modulated back to represent a higher dopamine level (as it would be the case in dopaminergic therapy), as well as when the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop is broken (as would be the case for ablative anti-parkinsonian surgeries). Thus, the proposed model provides an explanation for the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop mechanism of tremor generation. The strengthening of the loop leads to tremor oscillations, while the weakening or disconnection of the loop suppresses them. The loop origin of parkinsonian tremor also suggests that new tremor-suppression therapies may have anatomical targets in different cortical and subcortical areas as long as they are within the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop.