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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Neuroscience

PI: Timothy J. Ebner

The Propagation Mechanism of Spreading Acidification and Depression in the Cerebellar Cortex

A novel form of neural activation of the cerebellar cortex was discovered in the Ebner laboratory using optical imaging methods in vivo. This activation process, called "spreading acidification and depression” (SAD), is hypothesized to underlie the channelopathy of episodic ataxia type 1. The cellular mechanisms of SAD remain unclear. In order to understand these mechanisms, this group has developed a computational model of SAD based on direct activation of the parallel fibers through addition of extra synaptic glutamate. The model uses the geometry of the cerebellar cortex determined through measurements of extrasynaptic diffusion of glutamate in the cerebellar cortex released from local synapses. The model has several free parameters, such as tissue volume, the glutamate activation threshold, and the synaptic release delay. The researchers are performing a systematic sweep of the free parameter space to characterize the model and compare it with the experimental results.

Group Member

Laurentiu S. Popa, Graduate Student