Document Type


Source Publication Title

Journal of Computational Neuroscience


Morphological reconstructions of axon segments reveal the abundance of geometrical ultrastructures that can dramatically affect the propagation of Action Potentials (AP). Moreover, deformations and swellings in axons resulting from brain traumas are associated to many neural dysfunctions and disorders. Our aim is to develop a computational framework to distinguish between geometrical enlargements that lead to minor changes in propagation from those that result in critical phenomenon such as reflection or blockage of the original traveling spike. We use a few geometrical parameters to model a prototypical shaft enlargement and explore the parameter space characterizing all possible propagation regimes and dynamics in an unmylienated AP model. Contrary to earlier notions that large diameter increases mostly lead to blocking, we demonstrate transmission is stable provided the geometrical changes occur in a slow manner. Our method also identifies a narrow range of parameters leading to a reflection regime. The distinction between these three regimes can be evaluated by a simple function of the geometrical parameters inferred through numerical simulations. We suggest that evaluating this function along axon segments can detect regions most susceptible to (i) transmission failure due to perturbations, (ii) structural plasticity, (iii) critical swellings caused by brain traumas and/or (iv) neurological disorders associated with the break down of spike train propagation. [This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Computational Neuroscience. The final authenticated version is available online at:]


Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Publication Date




Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 3000

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