, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 293-306
Date: 28 Jul 2006

Spatio-temporal filtering properties of a dendritic cable with active spines: A modeling study in the spike-diffuse-spike framework

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The spike-diffuse-spike (SDS) model describes a passive dendritic tree with active dendritic spines. Spine-head dynamics is modeled with a simple integrate-and-fire process, whilst communication between spines is mediated by the cable equation. In this paper we develop a computational framework that allows the study of multiple spiking events in a network of such spines embedded on a simple one-dimensional cable. In the first instance this system is shown to support saltatory waves with the same qualitative features as those observed in a model with Hodgkin-Huxley kinetics in the spine-head. Moreover, there is excellent agreement with the analytically calculated speed for a solitary saltatory pulse. Upon driving the system with time-varying external input we find that the distribution of spines can play a crucial role in determining spatio-temporal filtering properties. In particular, the SDS model in response to periodic pulse train shows a positive correlation between spine density and low-pass temporal filtering that is consistent with the experimental results of Rose and Fortune [1999, ‘Mechanisms for generating temporal filters in the electrosensory system,’ The Journal of Experimental Biology 202: 1281–1289]. Further, we demonstrate the robustness of observed wave properties to natural sources of noise that arise both in the cable and the spine-head, and highlight the possibility of purely noise induced waves and coherent oscillations.

Action Editor: Erik De Schutter