Stochastic modeling of neurotransmission dynamics

Abstract: Neurotransmission at chemical synapses relies on the calcium-induced fusion of synaptic vesicles with the presynaptic membrane. The distance of the vesicle to the calcium channels determines the fusion probability and consequently the postsynaptic signal. After a fusion event, both the release site and the vesicle undergo a recovery process before becoming available for reuse again. For all these process components, stochastic effects are widely recognized to play an important role. In this talk, I will present our recent efforts on how to describe and structurally understand neurotransmission dynamics using stochastic modeling approaches. Starting with a linear reaction scheme, a method to directly compute the exact first- and second-order moments of the filtered output signal is proposed. For a modification of the model including explicit recovery steps, the stochastic dynamics are compared to the mean-field approximation in terms of reaction rate equations. Finally, we reflect on spatial extensions of the model, as well as on their approximation by hybrid methods.


- A. Ernst, C. Schütte, S. Sigrist, S. Winkelmann. Mathematical Biosciences, 343, 108760, 2022.

- A. Ernst, N. Unger, C. Schütte, A. Walter, S. Winkelmann. Under Review.