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YEAR : 2020

Myelination Increases the Spatial Extent of Analog-Digital Modulation of Synaptic Transmission: A Modeling Study.

AUTHORS : Zbili M, Debanne D.

JOURNAL : Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Analog-digital facilitations (ADFs) have been described in local excitatory brain circuits and correspond to a class of phenomena describing how subthreshold variations of the presynaptic membrane potential influence spike-evoked synaptic transmission. In many brain circuits, ADFs rely on the propagation of somatic membrane potential fluctuations to the presynaptic bouton where they modulate ion channels availability, inducing modifications of the presynaptic spike waveform, the spike-evoked Ca2+ entry, and the transmitter release. Therefore, one major requirement for ADFs to occur is the propagation of subthreshold membrane potential variations from the soma to the presynaptic bouton. To date, reported ADFs space constants are relatively short (250-500 μm) which limits their action to proximal synapses. However, ADFs have been studied either in unmyelinated axons or in juvenile animals in which myelination is incomplete. We examined here the potential gain of ADFs spatial extent caused by myelination using a realistic model of L5 pyramidal cell. Myelination of the axon was found to induce a 3-fold increase in the axonal length constant. As a result, the different forms of ADF were found to display a much longer spatial extent (up to 3,000 μm). In addition, while the internodal length displayed a mild effect, the number of myelin wraps ensheathing the internodes was found to play a critical role in the ADFs spatial extents. We conclude that axonal myelination induces an increase in ADFs spatial extent in our model, thus making ADFs plausible in long-distance connections.