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Model of metabolic and temperature fluctuations in the brain

A general theory of metabolic, hemodynamic, and thermodynamic fluctuations in the cerebral cortex is presented based on mesoscopic activities of neurons and synapses. Spectral functions of fluctuations in metabolic activity, cerebral blood flow, and tissue temperature are determined analytically and discussed with respect to underlying fluctuations in neural activity. The dependence of these fluctuations on general neuroanatomical organization is also discussed. It is found that spatial temperature correlations have a long-range character due to heat diffusion, even in the absence of such correlations in neural activities. Based on these results, it is suggested that experimental imaging of brain temperature distribution may be useful in determining local activities of neurons. The paper is an extension of the previous approach [1], where metabolic power of cortical neurons was determined analytically.


  1. Karbowski J: Thermodynamic constraints on neural dimensions, firing rates, brain temperature and size. J. Comput. Neurosci. 2009, 27: 415-436. 10.1007/s10827-009-0153-7.

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The paper was supported by the grant from the Polish Ministry of Higher Education (NN 518 409238), and by the Marie Curie Actions EU grant FP7-PEOPLE-2007-IRG-210538.

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Correspondence to Jan Karbowski.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Karbowski, J. Model of metabolic and temperature fluctuations in the brain. BMC Neurosci 12 (Suppl 1), P164 (2011).

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