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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:704-7. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6090159.

Comparison of continuous and discrete stochastic ion channel models.

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  • 1Computing Laboratory, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


The stochastic behaviour of ion channels can be described by a discrete model or by an approximate continuous approach. While the discrete approach is exact, it is also less computationally efficient, and so the continuous model is often the method of choice since it allows for incorporation into a multiscale environment. However, in recent years the accuracy of the stochastic continuous approach for calculating statistics of certain quantities in the Hodgkin-Huxley model has come into question. In this paper, we show that by correct formulation of the continuous model, the first two moments in the number of open sodium and potassium channels in the Hodgkin-Huxley model, calculated under voltage clamp conditions using the continuous approach are in good agreement with those obtained from the discrete model.

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