Excitation properties of computational models of unmyelinated peripheral axons.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Biophysically based computational models of nerve fibers are important tools for designing electrical stimulation therapies, investigating drugs that affect ion channels, and studying diseases that affect neurons. Although peripheral nerves are primarily composed of unmyelinated axons (i.e., C-fibers), most modeling efforts focused on myelinated axons. We implemented the single-compartment model of vagal afferents from Schild et al. (1994) (Schild JH, Clark JW, Hay M, Mendelowitz D, Andresen MC, Kunze DL. J Neurophysiol 71: 2338-2358, 1994) and extended the model into a multicompartment axon, presenting the first cable model of a C-fiber vagal afferent. We also implemented the updated parameters from the Schild and Kunze (1997) model (Schild JH, Kunze DL. J Neurophysiol 78: 3198-3209, 1997). We compared the responses of these novel models with those of three published models of unmyelinated axons (Rattay F, Aberham M. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 40: 1201-1209, 1993; Sundt D, Gamper N, Jaffe DB. J Neurophysiol 114: 3140-3153, 2015; Tigerholm J, Petersson ME, Obreja O, Lampert A, Carr R, Schmelz M, Fransén E. J Neurophysiol 111: 1721-1735, 2014) and with experimental data from single-fiber recordings. Comparing the two models by Schild et al. (1994, 1997) revealed that differences in rest potential and action potential shape were driven by changes in maximum conductances rather than changes in sodium channel dynamics. Comparing the five model axons, the conduction speeds and strength-duration responses were largely within expected ranges, but none of the models captured the experimental threshold recovery cycle-including a complete absence of late subnormality in the models-and their action potential shapes varied dramatically. The Tigerholm et al. (2014) model best reproduced the experimental data, but these modeling efforts make clear that additional data are needed to parameterize and validate future models of autonomic C-fibers.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Peripheral nerves are primarily composed of unmyelinated axons, and there is growing interest in electrical stimulation of the autonomic nervous system to treat various diseases. We present the first cable model of an unmyelinated vagal nerve fiber and compare its ion channel isoforms and conduction responses with other published models of unmyelinated axons, establishing important tools for advancing modeling of autonomic nerves.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pelot, NA; Catherall, DC; Thio, BJ; Titus, ND; Liang, ED; Henriquez, CS; Grill, WM

Published Date

  • January 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 125 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 86 - 104

PubMed ID

  • 33085556

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8087387

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1522-1598

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3077

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/jn.00315.2020


  • eng