Article Summary

Title : A modified cable formalism for modeling neuronal membranes at high frequencies
Authors : Claude Bedard and Alain Destexhe
Year : 2008
Journal : Biophys J
Volume : 94
Pages : 1133-43


Intracellular recordings of cortical neurons in vivo display intense subthreshold membrane potential (V(m)) activity. The power spectral density of the V(m) displays a power-law structure at high frequencies (>50 Hz) with a slope of approximately -2.5. This type of frequency scaling cannot be accounted for by traditional models, as either single-compartment models or models based on reconstructed cell morphologies display a frequency scaling with a slope close to -4. This slope is due to the fact that the membrane resistance is short-circuited by the capacitance for high frequencies, a situation which may not be realistic. Here, we integrate nonideal capacitors in cable equations to reflect the fact that the capacitance cannot be charged instantaneously. We show that the resulting nonideal cable model can be solved analytically using Fourier transforms. Numerical simulations using a ball-and-stick model yield membrane potential activity with similar frequency scaling as in the experiments. We also discuss the consequences of using nonideal capacitors on other cellular properties such as the transmission of high frequencies, which is boosted in nonideal cables, or voltage attenuation in dendrites. These results suggest that cable equations based on nonideal capacitors should be used to capture the behavior of neuronal membranes at high frequencies.