Effects of stochastic sodium channels on extracellular excitation of myelinated nerve fibers
The effects of the stochastic gating properties of sodium channels on the extracellular excitation properties of mammalian nerve fibers was determined by computer simulation. To reduce computation time, a hybrid multicompartment cable model including five central nodes of Ranvier containing stochastic sodium channels and 16 flanking nodes containing deterministic membrane dynamics was developed. The excitation properties of the hybrid cable model were comparable with those of a full stochastic cable model including 21 nodes of Ranvier containing stochastic sodium channels, indicating the validity of the hybrid cable model. The hybrid cable model was used to investigate whether or not the excitation properties of extracellularly activated fibers were influenced by the stochastic gating of sodium channels, including spike latencies, strength-duration (SD), current-distance (IX), and recruitment properties. The stochastic properties of the sodium channels in the hybrid cable model had the greatest impact when considering the temporal dynamics of nerve fibers, i.e., a large variability in latencies, while they did not influence the SD, IX, or recruitment properties as compared with those of the conventional deterministic cable model. These findings suggest that inclusion of stochastic nodes is not important for model-based design of stimulus waveforms for activation of motor nerve fibers. However, in cases where temporal fine structure is important, for example in sensory neural prostheses in the auditory and visual systems, the stochastic properties of the sodium channels may play a key role in the design of stimulus waveforms.
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