Neuronal spike initiation modulated by extracellular electric fields

Guo Sheng Yi, Jiang Wang, Xi Le Wei, Kai Ming Tsang, Wai Lok Chan, Bin Deng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a reduced two-compartment model, the dynamical and biophysical mechanism underlying the spike initiation of the neuron to extracellular electric fields is investigated in this paper. With stability and phase plane analysis, we first investigate in detail the dynamical properties of neuronal spike initiation induced by geometric parameter and internal coupling conductance. The geometric parameter is the ratio between soma area and total membrane area, which describes the proportion of area occupied by somatic chamber. It is found that varying it could qualitatively alter the bifurcation structures of equilibrium as well as neuronal phase portraits, which remain unchanged when varying internal coupling conductance. By analyzing the activating properties of somatic membrane currents at subthreshold potentials, we explore the relevant biophysical basis of spike initiation dynamics induced by these two parameters. It is observed that increasing geometric parameter could greatly decrease the intensity of the internal current flowing from soma to dendrite, which switches spike initiation dynamics from Hopf bifurcation to SNIC bifurcation; increasing internal coupling conductance could lead to the increase of this outward internal current, whereas the increasing range is so small that it could not qualitatively alter the spike initiation dynamics. These results highlight that neuronal geometric parameter is a crucial factor in determining the spike initiation dynamics to electric fields. The finding is useful to interpret the functional significance of neuronal biophysical properties in their encoding dynamics, which could contribute to uncovering how neuron encodes electric field signals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere97481
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuronal spike initiation modulated by extracellular electric fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this