This week on Journal Club session Reinoud Maex will talk about the paper "A Kirchhoff-Nernst-Planck framework for modeling large scale extracellular electrodiffusion surrounding morphologically detailed neurons".
Many pathological conditions, such as seizures, stroke, and spreading depression, are associated with substantial changes in ion concentrations in the extracellular space (ECS) of the brain. An understanding of the mechanisms that govern ECS concentration dynamics may be a prerequisite for understanding such pathologies. To estimate the transport of ions due to electrodiffusive effects, one must keep track of both the ion concentrations and the electric potential simultaneously in the relevant regions of the brain. Although this is cur- rently unfeasible experimentally, it is in principle achievable with computational models based on biophysical principles and constraints. Previous computational models of extracel- lular ion-concentration dynamics have required extensive computing power, and therefore have been limited to either phenomena on very small spatiotemporal scales (micrometers and milliseconds), or simplified and idealized 1-dimensional (1-D) transport processes on a larger scale. Here, we present the 3-D Kirchhoff-Nernst-Planck (KNP) framework, tailored to explore electrodiffusive effects on large spatiotemporal scales. By assuming electroneu- trality, the KNP-framework circumvents charge-relaxation processes on the spatiotemporal scales of nanometers and nanoseconds, and makes it feasible to run simulations on the spatiotemporal scales of millimeters and seconds on a standard desktop computer. In the present work, we use the 3-D KNP framework to simulate the dynamics of ion concentra- tions and the electrical potential surrounding a morphologically detailed pyramidal cell. In addition to elucidating the single neuron contribution to electrodiffusive effects in the ECS, the simulation demonstrates the efficiency of the 3-D KNP framework. We envision that future applications of the framework to more complex and biologically realistic systems will be useful in exploring pathological conditions associated with large concentration variations in the ECS.
- A. Solbrå, A.W. Bergersen, J. van den Brink, A. Malthe-Sørenssen, G.T. Einevoll, G. Halnes "A Kirchhoff-Nernst-Planck framework for modeling large scale extracellular electrodiffusion surrounding morphologically detailed neurons" , (2018) PLoS Comput Biol 14(10): e1006510, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006510