Modeling of the pharyngeal muscle in Caenorhabditis elegans based on FitzHugh-Nagumo equations
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- Hattori, Y., Suzuki, M., Soh, Z. et al. Artif Life Robotics (2012) 17: 173. doi:10.1007/s10015-012-0064-y
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The pharyngeal pumping motion to send food to the bowel is a rhythmic movement in Caenorhabditis elegans. This paper proposes a simulation-based approach to investigate the mechanisms of rhythm phenomena in the pharyngeal pumping motion. To conduct the simulations, first, we developed a pharyngeal muscle model including 29 cell models which simulate the activity of each cell as a membrane potential based on FitzHugh-Nagumo equations. Then, to compare the response of the model with that of C. elegans, we calculated the electropharyngeogram (EPG), which represents the electrophysiological responses of the pharyngeal cells, using the simulated membrane potentials. The results confirmed that our model could generate the EPG similar to that measured from C. elegans. We proposed a computer simulation of the pumping motion to investigate the mechanisms of rhythm phenomena in living organisms.