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Optimization of battery strengths in the Hodgkin-Huxley model
© Crotty and Sangrey; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Published: 18 July 2011
Simulations show that neurons are capable of operating over a much broader range of values of ionic reversal potentials than what is actually observed. Since the reversal potentials, which depend on the ionic concentration gradients across the membrane, have strong effects on the signaling properties and metabolic energy consumption rates of neurons, it is natural to hypothesize that the actual values are optimal for some functional property of the neuron involving energy and information, much as the ion channel densities and leak conductance appear to be [1, 2]. Here we consider the Hodgkin-Huxley model of the squid giant axon and systematically investigate whether the reversal potentials for sodium and potassium, ENa and EK, whose experimental values are respectively around +50 and -80 mV, minimize or maximize any simple combination of: (a) metabolic energy consumption during an action potential; (b) metabolic energy consumption during quiescence; (c) action potential velocity; (d) maximum firing frequency; and (e) the “energy efficiency” of the action potentials, which is the proportion of the metabolic energy associated with them that actually contributes to net inward or outward currents.
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