Computational modeling of paroxysmal depolarization shifts in neurons induced by the glutamate release from astrocytes

Alexander Silchenko, Physics, Saratov State University, Russia

Recent experimental studies have shown that astrocytes respond to external stimuli with a transient increase of the intracellular calcium concentration or can exhibit self-sustained spontaneous activity. Both evoked and spontaneous astrocytic calcium oscillations are accompanied by exocytosis of glutamate caged in astrocytes leading to paroxysmal depolarization shifts (PDS) in neighboring neurons. Here, we present a simple mathematical model of the interaction between astrocytes and neurons that is able to numerically reproduce the experimental results concerning the initiation of the PDS. The timing of glutamate release from the astrocyte is studied by means of a combined modeling of a vesicle cycle and the dynamics of SNARE-proteins. The neuronal slow inward currents (SICs), induced by the astrocytic glutamate and leading to PDS, are modeled via the activation of presynaptic glutamate receptors. Our numerical results are in line with experimental findings showing that astrocyte can induce synchronous PDSs in neighboring neurons, resulting in a transient synchronous spiking activity.