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Modeling neural activity - role of non linear dendritic behaviour in information processing by small neural nets


The anterior gastric receptor (AGR neurone) participates to the control the gastric mill activity in the lobster. This neurone has a double branched dendrite; non linear current-voltage relationship results in spontaneous membrane potential oscillations for both branches. External stimulus on dendrites couples or uncouples the two oscillators. In addition, blood hormones modifies the current-voltage relationship. Consequently, time pattern of the AGR neurone action potentials reflects the level of excitation, the hormonal control and the coupling between dendritic oscillators; in turn AGR output controls gastric mill muscle activity.
A mathematical model for the AGR neurone electrical activity is derived from the Hodgkin-Huxley equations. Analysis of this model is carried out either by numerical simulations and by analytical study of a simplified version where the FitzHugh- Nagumo system replaces Hodgkin-Huxley equations.

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