Stochastic resonance as a collective property of ion channel assemblies
Institut für Physik, Universität Augsburg
Universitätsstr. 1, D-86135 Augsburg, Germany
Accepted: 8 July 2001
By use of a stochastic generalization of the Hodgkin-Huxley model we investigate both the phenomena of stochastic resonance (SR) and coherence resonance (CR) in variable size patches of an excitable cell membrane. Our focus is on the challenge: how internal noise stemming from individual ion channels does affect collective properties of the whole ensemble. We investigate both an unperturbed situation with no applied stimuli and one in which the membrane is stimulated externally by a periodic signal and additional external noise. For the nondriven case, we demonstrate the existence of an optimal size of the membrane patch for which the internal noise causes a most regular spike activity. This phenomenon shall be termed intrinsic CR. In the presence of an applied periodic stimulus, we demonstrate that the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) exhibits SR vs. decreasing patch size, or vs. increasing internal noise strength, respectively. Moreover, we demonstrate that conventional SR vs. the external noise intensity occurs only for sufficiently large membrane patches, when the intensity of internal noise is below its optimal level. Thus, biological SR is seemingly rooted in the collective properties of large ion channel ensembles rather than in the individual stochastic dynamics of single ion channels.
PACS: 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 87.10.+e – General theory and mathematical aspects / 87.16.-b – Subcellular structure and processes
© EDP Sciences, 2001