SEMINAR: Professor Jari Hyttinen Event as iCalendar

10 November 2017


Venue: Room G10, 70 Symonds Street

Modelling Neuronal-Astrocyte Systems from in-vitro to in-silico

BioMediTech Institute and Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering
Tampere University of Technology, Finland

Recent evidence in neuroscience research has strengthened the role of tripartite synapses and astrocyte gliotransmission in neuronal communication system modulation. Though the astrocyte and neuronal network functions are interrelated, they are fundamentally different in their signaling patterns and time scales at which they operate. However, there is no clear consensus regarding the exact nature of gliotransmission and function of tripartite synapses at the network level nor at level of single astrocyte internal signaling.

We study the role of the astrocyte at singe astrocyte and network level and the effects of the activity on the neuronal network by composing biologically plausible computational models of single astrocyte, astrocyte network and astrocyte -neuron interactions.

On single astrocyte level we have developed a finite element model of the calcium and IP3 signaling in the complex astrocyte geometry driven by the neurotransmitter input from the synapses. In network level the astrocyte are neuronal networks are interconnected. The excitatory synapses transporting the communication between the neurons are controlled by astrocytes. Each astrocyte is connected to several hundreds of synapses that through the gliotransmission activate astrocyte calcium signaling. We simulated the joint networks with various levels of astrocyte contributions and neuronal activity levels. Our initial results on single cell level highlight the role of astrocyte morphology on the astrocyte functions. Our results on network level indicate that astrocytes promote bursting in the neuronal network, while restricting its hyperactivity. Moreover, our results support the recent findings that astrocytes maintain the stability and promote bursting communication of the neuronal network.