The Influence of Neuronal Cell Morphology on the Electrical Activity

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The human brain consists of billions of neurons organized in extensive networks, allowing information processing. Each neuron is encompassed by soma, dendrites, and axons. The information is carried by electrical signals through the axonal and dendritic trees, thus neuronal morphology affects activity and function. Understanding the interplay between neuronal morphology and activity is a fundamental challenge in neuroscience.

In this study, we explored the effects of axonal geometry on firing patterns, from basic elements such as an unbranched axon and a single branching point to whole neuron morphology. For this purpose, we used numerical simulations and computational tools to model the electrical activity of neurons. Moreover, we classified neurons into specific subtypes based on morphological features of the dendritic and axonal trees. For this purpose, we used neuronal morphology reconstructions obtained from digital databases such as NeuroMorpho.Org. Furthermore, we used biophysically data obtained from simulations of the activity along the axonal tree, produced by NEURON simulation with dynamics obtained from the Blue Brain Project. Our work paves the way for understanding and utilizing form-function principles in realistic neuronal reconstructions.

* PhD research supervised by Prof. Orit Shefi and Prof. Gur Yaari