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Biosystems. 2013 Jun;112(3):276-83. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2013.03.016. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Improving noise resistance of intrinsic rhythms in a square-wave burster model.

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Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan.


The square-wave burster (Wang and Rinzel, 2003) is a class of autonomous bursting cells that share a bifurcation structure. It is known that this class of cells is involved in the generation of various life-supporting rhythms. In our research to realize an electronic circuit that mimics the rhythm generating mechanism in the square-wave burster, our circuit experimentally exhibited severe fluctuations in its rhythmic activity. We have found a noise-sensitive region in the phase portrait of the ideal model and have proposed modifications of the model that can reduce this fluctuation. A possible modification to ionic-conductance neuron models (Kohno and Aihara, 2011) was inspired by them. This modification, however, cannot be applied to a group of square-wave bursters, including the Butera-Rinzel-Smith model (Butera et al., 1999; Del Negro et al., 2001), which is a model of the pre-Bötzinger complex bursting neuron that plays a crucial role in the generation of respiration rhythms, because this modification premises that the slow dynamics originates from an activation gate variable of a hyperpolarizing ionic current. However, in some square-wave bursters, they are controlled by an inactivation gate variable of a depolarizing ionic current. In this study, we proposed a similar modification with a completely different mechanism that can be applied to this group of square-wave bursters. In the presence of noises, the modified Butera-Rinzel-Smith model can generate rhythmic activity that is more stable and similar to biological observations than the original model. The mechanisms underlying this modification are explained with noisy bifurcation diagrams.

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