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Front Comput Neurosci. 2018 Jul 27;12:58. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2018.00058. eCollection 2018.

A Glutamatergic Spine Model to Enable Multi-Scale Modeling of Nonlinear Calcium Dynamics.

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1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States.

Abstract

In synapses, calcium is required for modulating synaptic transmission, plasticity, synaptogenesis, and synaptic pruning. The regulation of calcium dynamics within neurons involves cellular mechanisms such as synaptically activated channels and pumps, calcium buffers, and calcium sequestrating organelles. Many experimental studies tend to focus on only one or a small number of these mechanisms, as technical limitations make it difficult to observe all features at once. Computational modeling enables incorporation of many of these properties together, allowing for more complete and integrated studies. However, the scale of existing detailed models is often limited to synaptic and dendritic compartments as the computational burden rapidly increases when these models are integrated in cellular or network level simulations. In this article we present a computational model of calcium dynamics at the postsynaptic spine of a CA1 pyramidal neuron, as well as a methodology that enables its implementation in multi-scale, large-scale simulations. We first present a mechanistic model that includes individually validated models of various components involved in the regulation of calcium at the spine. We validated our mechanistic model by comparing simulated calcium levels to experimental data found in the literature. We performed additional simulations with the mechanistic model to determine how the simulated calcium activity varies with respect to presynaptic-postsynaptic stimulation intervals and spine distance from the soma. We then developed an input-output (IO) model that complements the mechanistic calcium model and provide a computationally efficient representation for use in larger scale modeling studies; we show the performance of the IO model compared to the mechanistic model in terms of accuracy and speed. The models presented here help achieve two objectives. First, the mechanistic model provides a comprehensive platform to describe spine calcium dynamics based on individual contributing factors. Second, the IO model is trained on the main dynamical features of the mechanistic model and enables nonlinear spine calcium modeling on the cell and network level simulation scales. Utilizing both model representations provide a multi-level perspective on calcium dynamics, originating from the molecular interactions at spines and propagating the effects to higher levels of activity involved in network behavior.

KEYWORDS:

computational model; glutamatergic synapse; multi-scale modeling; nonlinear dynamical systems; spine calcium

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