Role of Gap Junctions in a Neuron Astrocyte Network Model
Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm
A detailed biophysical model for a neuron/astrocyte network is developed to explore mechanisms responsible for the initiation and propagation of cortical spreading depolarizations and the role of astrocytes in maintaining ion homeostasis, thereby preventing these pathological waves. In particular, we consider the neuroprotective role of astrocyte gap junction coupling. The model demonstrates that a syncytium of electrically coupled astrocytes can maintain a physiological membrane potential in the presence of an elevated extracellular potassium concentration and efficiently distribute the excess potassium across the syncytium. This provides an effective mechanism for delaying or preventing the initiation of spreading depolarizations.