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From plateau to pseudo-plateau bursting: Making the transition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Teka Wondimu
  • KT Tsaneva-Atanasova
  • Bertram Richard
  • Tabak Joël
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292 - 1311
Number of pages20
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
StateAccepted/In press - 2010


Bursting electrical activity is ubiquitous in excitable cells such as neurons and many endocrine cells. The technique of fast/slow analysis, which takes advantage of time scale differences, is typically used to analyze the dynamics of bursting in mathematical models. Two classes of bursting oscillations that have been identified with this technique, plateau and pseudo-plateau bursting, are often observed in neurons and endocrine cells, respectively. These two types of bursting have very different properties and likely serve different functions. This latter point is supported by the divergent expression of the bursting patterns into different cell types, and raises the question of whether it is even possible for a model for one type of cell to produce bursting of the type seen in the other type without large changes to the model. Using fast/slow analysis, we show here that this is possible, and we provide a procedure for achieving this transition. This suggests that the design principles for bursting in endocrine cells are just quantitative variations of those for bursting in neurons.

Additional information

Rose publication type: Journal article Additional information: The authors own post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing) version of a paper accepted for publication in the journal Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. The original publication is available at Sponsorship: Wondimu Teka, Joël Tabak, and Richard Bertram were supported by NSF grant DMS-0917664 (Wondimu Teka and Richard Bertram) and NIH grant DA-19356 (Joël Tabak and Richard Bertram). Terms of use: © Society for Mathematical Biology

Research areas

  • bursting, pituitary cells, islets, calcium, mathematical model

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  • Post-print

    Accepted author manuscript, 1 MB, PDF-document



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