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Bull Math Biol. 2013 Oct;75(10):1941-60. doi: 10.1007/s11538-013-9877-7. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Regulation of electrical bursting in a spatiotemporal model of a GnRH neuron.

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Department of Mathematics, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand,


Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are hypothalamic neurons that control the pulsatile release of GnRH that governs fertility and reproduction in mammals. The mechanisms underlying the pulsatile release of GnRH are not well understood. Some mathematical models have been developed previously to explain different aspects of these activities, such as the properties of burst action potential firing and their associated Ca(2+) transients. These previous studies were based on experimental recordings taken from the soma of GnRH neurons. However, some research groups have shown that the dendrites of GnRH neurons play very important roles. In particular, it is now known that the site of action potential initiation in these neurons is often in the dendrite, over 100 μm from the soma. This raises an important question. Since some of the mechanisms for controlling the burst length and interburst interval are located in the soma, how can electrical bursting be controlled when initiated at a site located some distance from these controlling mechanisms? In order to answer this question, we construct a spatio-temporal mathematical model that includes both the soma and the dendrite. Our model shows that the diffusion coefficient for the spread of electrical potentials in the dendrite is large enough to coordinate burst firing of action potentials when the initiation site is located at some distance from the soma.

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