Pseudo-plateau bursting and mixed-mode oscillations in a model of developing inner hair cells

Harun Baldemir, Daniele Avitabile, Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Inner hair cells (IHCs) are excitable sensory cells in the inner ear that encode acoustic information. Before the onset of hearing IHCs fire calcium-based action potentials that trigger transmitter release onto developing spiral ganglion neurones. There is accumulating experimental evidence that these spontaneous firing patterns are associated with maturation of the IHC synapses and hence involved in the development of hearing. The dynamics organising the IHCs’ electrical activity are therefore of interest. Building on our previous modelling work we propose a three-dimensional, reduced IHC model and carry out non-dimensionalisation. We show that there is a significant range of parameter values for which the dynamics of the reduced (three-dimensional) model map well onto the dynamics observed in the original biophysical (four-dimensional) IHC model. By estimating the typical time scales of the variables in the reduced IHC model we demonstrate that this model could be characterised by two fast and one slow or one fast and two slow variables depending on biophysically relevant parameters that control the dynamics. Specifically, we investigate how changes in the conductance of the voltage-gated calcium channels as well as the parameter corresponding to the fraction of free cytosolic calcium concentration in the model affect the oscillatory model bahaviour leading to transition from pseudo-plateau bursting to mixed-mode oscillations. Hence, using fast-slow analysis we are able to further our understanding of this model and reveal a path in the parameter space connecting pseudo-plateau bursting and mixed-mode oscillations by varying a single parameter in the model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104979
JournalCommunications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Excitable cells
  • Fast-slow analysis
  • Mixed-mode oscillations
  • Model reduction
  • Pseudo-plateau bursting


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