Controlling the spontaneous firing behavior of a neuron with astrocyte

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title



Mounting evidence in recent years suggests that astrocytes, a sub-type of glial cells, not only serve metabolic and structural support for neurons and synapses but also play critical roles in the regulation of proper functioning of the nervous system. In this work, we investigate the effect of astrocytes on the spontaneous firing activity of a neuron through a combined model that includes a neuron-astrocyte pair. First, we show that an astrocyte may provide a kind of multistability in neuron dynamics by inducing different firing modes such as random and bursty spiking. Then, we identify the underlying mechanism of this behavior and search for the astrocytic factors that may have regulatory roles in different firing regimes. More specifically, we explore how an astrocyte can participate in the occurrence and control of spontaneous irregular spiking activity of a neuron in random spiking mode. Additionally, we systematically investigate the bursty firing regime dynamics of the neuron under the variation of biophysical facts related to the intracellular environment of the astrocyte. It is found that an astrocyte coupled to a neuron can provide a control mechanism for both spontaneous firing irregularity and burst firing statistics, i.e., burst regularity and size.



Publication Date



Open Access, Green

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