Effects of channel blocking on information transmission and energy efficiency in squid giant axons
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Action potentials are the information carriers of neural systems. The generation of action potentials involves the cooperative opening and closing of sodium and potassium channels. This process is metabolically expensive because the ions flowing through open channels need to be restored to maintain concentration gradients of these ions. Toxins like tetraethylammonium can block working ion channels, thus affecting the function and energy cost of neurons. In this paper, by computer simulation of the Hodgkin-Huxley neuron model, we studied the effects of channel blocking with toxins on the information transmission and energy efficiency in squid giant axons. We found that gradually blocking sodium channels will sequentially maximize the information transmission and energy efficiency of the axons, whereas moderate blocking of potassium channels will have little impact on the information transmission and will decrease the energy efficiency. Heavy blocking of potassium channels will cause self-sustained oscillation of membrane potentials. Simultaneously blocking sodium and potassium channels with the same ratio increases both information transmission and energy efficiency. Our results are in line with previous studies suggesting that information processing capacity and energy efficiency can be maximized by regulating the number of active ion channels, and this indicates a viable avenue for future experimentation.
KeywordsSquid giant axon Ion channel blocking Information rate Energy efficiency
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 11564034, 11105062, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant No. lzujbky-2015-119, 31920130008.
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Conflict of interests
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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