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Spikelets in Pyramidal Neurons: Action Potentials Initiated in the Axon Initial Segment That Do Not Activate the Soma.

Spikelets are small spike-like depolarizations that can be measured in somatic intracellular recordings. Their origin in pyramidal neurons remains controversial. To explain spikelet generation, we propose a novel single-cell mechanism: somato-dendritic input generates action potentials at the axon initial segment that may fail to activate the soma and manifest as somatic spikelets. Using mathematical analysis and numerical simulations of compartmental neuron models, we identified four key factors controlling spikelet generation: (1) difference in firing threshold, (2) impedance mismatch, and (3) electrotonic separation between the soma and the axon initial segment, as well as (4) input amplitude. Because spikelets involve forward propagation of action potentials along the axon while they avoid full depolarization of the somato-dendritic compartments, we conjecture that this mode of operation saves energy and regulates dendritic plasticity while still allowing for a read-out of results of neuronal computations.

Pubmed ID: 28068338 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Action Potentials | Axons | Computational Biology | Computer Simulation | Models, Neurological | Pyramidal Cells

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ModelDB

Curated database of published models so that they can be openly accessed, downloaded, and tested to support computational neuroscience. Coupled with NeuronDB. Models can be coded in any language for any environment. Model code can be viewed before downloading and browsers can be set to auto-launch the models. The model source code has to be available from publicly accessible online repository or WWW site. Original source code is used to generate the simulation results from which authors derived their published insights and conclusions.

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NEURON

NEURON is a simulation environment for modeling individual neurons and networks of neurons. It provides tools for conveniently building, managing, and using models in a way that is numerically sound and computationally efficient. It is particularly well-suited to problems that are closely linked to experimental data, especially those that involve cells with complex anatomical and biophysical properties. NEURON has benefited from judicious revision and selective enhancement, guided by feedback from the growing number of neuroscientists who have used it to incorporate empirically-based modeling into their research strategies. NEURON's computational engine employs special algorithms that achieve high efficiency by exploiting the structure of the equations that describe neuronal properties. It has functions that are tailored for conveniently controlling simulations, and presenting the results of real neurophysiological problems graphically in ways that are quickly and intuitively grasped. Instead of forcing users to reformulate their conceptual models to fit the requirements of a general purpose simulator, NEURON is designed to let them deal directly with familiar neuroscience concepts. Consequently, users can think in terms of the biophysical properties of membrane and cytoplasm, the branched architecture of neurons, and the effects of synaptic communication between cells. * helps users focus on important biological issues rather than purely computational concerns * has a convenient user interface * has a user-extendable library of biophysical mechanisms * has many enhancements for efficient network modeling * offers customizable initialization and simulation flow control * is widely used in neuroscience research by experimentalists and theoreticians * is well-documented and actively supported * is free, open source, and runs on (almost) everything

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