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1D-3D hybrid modeling—from multi-compartment models to full resolution models in space and time

DOI: 10.3389/fninf.2014.00068

Keywords: calcium dynamics, electrical stimulation, hybrid, parallel, detailed modeling, intracellular signaling, neuron, PDEs

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Investigation of cellular and network dynamics in the brain by means of modeling and simulation has evolved into a highly interdisciplinary field, that uses sophisticated modeling and simulation approaches to understand distinct areas of brain function. Depending on the underlying complexity, these models vary in their level of detail, in order to cope with the attached computational cost. Hence for large network simulations, single neurons are typically reduced to time-dependent signal processors, dismissing the spatial aspect of each cell. For single cell or networks with relatively small numbers of neurons, general purpose simulators allow for space and time-dependent simulations of electrical signal processing, based on the cable equation theory. An emerging field in Computational Neuroscience encompasses a new level of detail by incorporating the full three-dimensional morphology of cells and organelles into three-dimensional, space and time-dependent, simulations. While every approach has its advantages and limitations, such as computational cost, integrated and methods-spanning simulation approaches, depending on the network size could establish new ways to investigate the brain. In this paper we present a hybrid simulation approach, that makes use of reduced 1D-models using e.g., the NEURON simulator—which couples to fully resolved models for simulating cellular and sub-cellular dynamics, including the detailed three-dimensional morphology of neurons and organelles. In order to couple 1D- and 3D-simulations, we present a geometry-, membrane potential- and intracellular concentration mapping framework, with which graph- based morphologies, e.g., in the swc- or hoc-format, are mapped to full surface and volume representations of the neuron and computational data from 1D-simulations can be used as boundary conditions for full 3D simulations and vice versa. Thus, established models and data, based on general purpose 1D-simulators, can be directly coupled to the emerging field of fully resolved, highly detailed 3D-modeling approaches. We present the developed general framework for 1D/3D hybrid modeling and apply it to investigate electrically active neurons and their intracellular spatio-temporal calcium dynamics.


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