May 9, 2021

Biological complexity facilitates tuning of the neuronal parameter space

<p>The electrical and computational properties of neurons in our brains are determined by a rich repertoire of membrane-bound ion channels and elaborate dendritic trees. However, the precise reason for this inherent complexity remains unknown. Here, we generated large stochastic populations of biophysically realistic hippocampal granule cell models comparing those with all 15 ion channels to their reduced but functional counterparts containing only 5 ion channels. Strikingly, valid parameter combinations in the full models were more frequent and more stable in the face of perturbations. Scaling up the numbers of ion channels artificially in the reduced models recovered these advantages confirming the key contribution of the actual number of ion channels. We conclude that the diversity of ion channels allows a neuron to achieve a target excitability through random channel expression with increased robustness and higher flexibility.</p>
<p> bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience</p>
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