Impact of neuronal membrane damage on the local field potential in a large-scale simulation of cerebral cortex

David L. Boothe, Alfred B. Yu, Pawel Kudela, William S. Anderson, Jean M. Vettel, Piotr J. Franaszczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within multiscale brain dynamics, the structure-function relationship between cellular changes at a lower scale and coordinated oscillations at a higher scale is not well understood. This relationship may be particularly relevant for understanding functional impairments after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) when current neuroimaging methods do not reveal morphological changes to the brain common in moderate to severe TBI such as diffuse axonal injury or gray matter lesions. Here, we created a physiology-based model of cerebral cortex using a publicly released modeling framework (GEneral NEural SImulation System) to explore the possibility that performance deficits characteristic of blast-induced mTBI may reflect dysfunctional, local network activity influenced by microscale neuronal damage at the cellular level. We operationalized microscale damage to neurons as the formation of pores on the neuronal membrane based on research using blast paradigms, and in our model, pores were simulated by a change in membrane conductance. We then tracked changes in simulated electrical activity. Our model contained 585 simulated neurons, comprised of 14 types of cortical and thalamic neurons each with its own compartmental morphology and electrophysiological properties. Comparing the functional activity of neurons before and after simulated damage, we found that simulated pores in the membrane reduced both action potential generation and local field potential (LFP) power in the 1-40 Hz range of the power spectrum. Furthermore, the location of damage modulated the strength of these effects: pore formation on simulated axons reduced LFP power more strongly than did pore formation on the soma and the dendrites. These results indicate that even small amounts of cellular damage can negatively impact functional activity of larger scale oscillations, and our findings suggest that multiscale modeling provides a promising avenue to elucidate these relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number236
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - Jun 7 2017


  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Local field potential
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Neuronal network
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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