From plateau to pseudo-plateau bursting: Making the transition

Teka Wondimu, KT Tsaneva-Atanasova, Bertram Richard, Tabak Joël

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Bursting electrical activity is ubiquitous in excitable cells such as neurons and many endocrine cells. The technique of fast/slow analysis, which takes advantage of time scale differences, is typically used to analyze the dynamics of bursting in mathematical models. Two classes of bursting oscillations that have been identified with this technique, plateau and pseudo-plateau bursting, are often observed in neurons and endocrine cells, respectively. These two types of bursting have very different properties and likely serve different functions. This latter point is supported by the divergent expression of the bursting patterns into different cell types, and raises the question of whether it is even possible for a model for one type of cell to produce bursting of the type seen in the other type without large changes to the model. Using fast/slow analysis, we show here that this is possible, and we provide a procedure for achieving this transition. This suggests that the design principles for bursting in endocrine cells are just quantitative variations of those for bursting in neurons.
Translated title of the contributionFrom Plateau to Pseudo-Plateau Bursting: Making the Transition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292-1311
Number of pages20
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Early online date24 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • bursting
  • pituitary cells
  • islets
  • calcium
  • mathematical model


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