Perturbation analysis of spontaneous action potential initiation by stochastic ion channels

James P. Keener, Jay M. Newby

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34 Scopus citations

Abstract

A stochastic interpretation of spontaneous action potential initiation is developed for the Morris-Lecar equations. Initiation of a spontaneous action potential can be interpreted as the escape from one of the wells of a double well potential, and we develop an asymptotic approximation of the mean exit time using a recently developed quasistationary perturbation method. Using the fact that the activating ionic channel's random openings and closings are fast relative to other processes, we derive an accurate estimate for the mean time to fire an action potential (MFT), which is valid for a below-threshold applied current. Previous studies have found that for above-threshold applied current, where there is only a single stable fixed point, a diffusion approximation can be used. We also explore why different diffusion approximation techniques fail to estimate the MFT. © 2011 American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 25 2011
Externally publishedYes

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