Dynamics of analog-to-frequency transduction by excitable systems: Sensory receptors

Rovinsky, Arkady; Menzinger, Michael
June 1993
Journal of Chemical Physics;6/1/1993, Vol. 98 Issue 11, p9155
Academic Journal
This paper analyzes the dynamics of analog-to-frequency transduction occurring in spatially extended excitable media with particular attention to sensory receptors. It is shown that spatially extended excitable media generate periodic traveling waves when forcing a dynamical variable by a constant stimulus at a boundary (i.e., by a Dirichlet boundary condition). However, the dynamical range of frequency ω(S) as a function of stimulus S is usually too narrow for sensory transducers, unless special physical conditions are met. The crucial property of an excitable medium that endows it with a wide transduction range in frequency is shown to be the nonlinear slowing down of the recovery variable in the vicinity of the steady state. This property is illustrated by computation for a series of models of the encoder region of sensory neurons possessing increasing physiological relevance.


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