What is it about?

Stellate cells of the medial entorhinal cortex manifest intrinsic oscillatory activity, which has been implicated in network physiology and plasticity. Current theories about the emergence of these oscillations do not jointly account for heterogeneities and stochasticity, two ubiquitous characteristics of biological systems. Analyses that set aside neural heterogeneities assume a unique ionic basis for the oscillatory activity, disregarding ion-channel degeneracy. Frameworks that ignore stochasticity result in unstable systems that collapse with the slightest perturbations.

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Why is it important?

In this unified synthesis involving the ion-channel degeneracy and stochastic resonance frameworks, we demonstrate that heterogeneous stochastic bifurcations can fully explain stellate cell oscillatory patterns. The heterogeneities account for cell-to-cell variability in intrinsic oscillations and their ionic basis. Stochasticity imparts stability to the variable amplitude oscillations through the manifestation of stochastic resonance. Ion-channel degeneracy: Disparate ion-channel combinations yield similar intrinsic properties, including robust oscillatory patterns. Stochastic resonance: An optimal level of noise plays a beneficiary role in the emergence of robust oscillatory patterns.


We postulate that the convergence of the degeneracy and stochastic resonance frameworks is a universal template for the robust emergence of different biological phenomena across different scales of analysis.

Rishikesh Narayanan
Indian Institute of Science

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This page is a summary of: Heterogeneous stochastic bifurcations explain intrinsic oscillatory patterns in entorhinal cortical stellate cells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2202962119.
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