Mathematics, Department of



Bo DengFollow

Date of this Version



Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 9(2010), pp.31–47.


For a new class of neuron models we demonstrate here that typical membrane action potentials and spike-bursts are only transient states but appear to be asymptotically stable; and yet such metastable states are plastic — being able to dynamically change from one action potential to another with different pulse frequencies and from one spike-burst to another with different spike-per-burst numbers. The pulse and spike-burst frequencies change with individual ions’ pump currents while their corresponding metastable-plastic states maintain the same transmembrane voltage and current profiles in range. It is also demonstrated that the plasticity requires two one-way ion pumps operating in opposite transmembrane directions to materialize, and if only one ion pump is left to operate, the plastic states will be lost to a rigid asymptotically stable state either as a resting potential, or a limit cycle with a fixed pulse frequency, or a spike-burst with a fixed spike-per-burst number. These metastable-plastic pulses and spike-bursts may be used as information-bearing alphabet for a communication system that neurons are thought to be.