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Diffusion-Based Model for Synaptic Molecular Communication Channel

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Khan, T 
Bilgin, BA 
Akan, OB 


Computational methods have been extensively used to understand the underlying dynamics of molecular communication methods employed by nature. One very effective and popular approach is to utilize a Monte Carlo simulation. Although it is very reliable, this method can have a very high computational cost, which in some cases renders the simulation impractical. Therefore, in this paper, for the special case of an excitatory synaptic molecular communication channel, we present a novel mathematical model for the diffusion and binding of neurotransmitters that takes into account the effects of synaptic geometry in 3-D space and re-absorption of neurotransmitters by the transmitting neuron. Based on this model we develop a fast deterministic algorithm, which calculates expected value of the output of this channel, namely, the amplitude of excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP), for given synaptic parameters. We validate our algorithm by a Monte Carlo simulation, which shows total agreement between the results of the two methods. Finally, we utilize our model to quantify the effects of variation in synaptic parameters, such as position of release site, receptor density, size of postsynaptic density, diffusion coefficient, uptake probability, and number of neurotransmitters in a vesicle, on maximum number of bound receptors that directly affect the peak amplitude of EPSP.



Neuro-spike communication, synaptic channel, diffusion, receptor binding, synaptic variability

Journal Title

IEEE Trans Nanobioscience

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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
European Research Council (616922)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) (665564)