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  • Open Access

A spatiotemporal model of spine calcium dynamics in the hippocampus

BMC Neuroscience201516 (Suppl 1) :P268

https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-16-S1-P268

  • Published:

Keywords

  • Finite Element Method
  • Spatial Variation
  • Signalling Cascade
  • Synaptic Plasticity
  • Biological Role

Ca2+-signalling in dendritic spines is required for NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity at glutamatergic synapses in the hippocampus [1]. However, it is not clear whether plasticity induction is dependent solely on the global signal, i.e., the spine volume-averaged Ca2+ signal; or whether plasticity induction is also sensitive to Ca2+-channel nanodomain signaling [2]. A working hypothesis of this work is that temporal and spatial variations in postsynaptic intracellular [Ca2+]-fields may be significant factors governing the signalling cascades that lead to either long-term synaptic potentiation or depression. Direct measurement of [Ca2+] distributions in dendritic spines is experimentally difficult but we can investigate this hypothesis using mathematical models of Ca2+ diffusion.

We have developed a spatio-temporal model of Ca2+ diffusion in three dimensions. We then study our model using finite element methods. The model allows predictions of intracellular [Ca2+]-field responses to combinations of pre- and post-synaptic spikes with nanometre and millisecond spatio-temporal resolution. Our results so far indicate that Ca2+ signalling is highly spatially non-uniform and that Ca2+ signal differences between induction protocols is dependent on location within the spine. This has implications for the ultimate biological role of the Ca2+ signal given that the relevant receptors in the spine are organised inhomogeneously [3].

Declarations

Acknowledgements

Support for this work was provided by the EPSRC, UK (EP/I013717/1).

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Department of Engineering Maths, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
(2)
School of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
(3)
Department of Mathematics, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

References

  1. Malenka RC, Bear MF: LTP and LTD: an embarrassment of riches. Neuron. 2004, 44 (1): 5-21.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen Y, Sabatini BL: Signaling in dendritic spines and spine microdomains. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2012, 22 (3): 389-396.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  3. Mori MX, Erickson MG, Yue DT: Functional stoichiometry and local enrichment of calmodulin interacting with Ca2+ channels. Science. 2004, 304 (5669): 432-435.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar

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