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Mathematical modeling of gate control theory

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2009
Agi, Egemen
The purpose of this thesis work is to model the gate control theory, which explains the modulation of pain signals, with a motivation of finding new possible targets for pain treatment and to find novel control algorithms that can be used in engineering practice. The difference of the current study from the previous modeling trials is that morphologies of neurons that constitute gate control system are also included in the model by which structure-function relationship can be observed. Model of an excitable neuron is constructed and the response of the model for different perturbations are investigated. The simulation results of the excitable cell model is obtained and when compared with the experimental findings obtained by using crayfish, it is found that they are in good agreement. Model encodes stimulation intensity information as firing frequency and also it can add sub-threshold inputs and fire action potentials as real neurons. Moreover, model is able to predict depolarization block. Absolute refractory period of the single cell model is found as 3.7 ms. The developed model, produces no action potentials when the sodium channels are blocked by tetrodotoxin. Also, frequency and amplitudes of generated action potentials increase when the reversal potential of Na is increased. In addition, propagation of signals along myelinated and unmyelinated fibers is simulated and input current intensity-frequency relationships for both type of fibers are constructed. Myelinated fiber starts to conduct when current input is about 400 pA whereas this minimum threshold value for unmyelinated fiber is around 1100 pA. Propagation velocity in the 1 cm long unmyelinated fiber is found as 0.43 m/s whereas velocity along myelinated fiber with the same length is found to be 64.35 m/s. Developed synapse model exhibits the summation and tetanization properties of real synapses while simulating the time dependency of neurotransmitter concentration in the synaptic cleft. Morphometric analysis of neurons that constitute gate control system are done in order to find electrophysiological properties according to dimensions of the neurons. All of the individual parts of the gate control system are connected and the whole system is simulated. For different connection configurations, results of the simulations predict the observed phenomena for the suppression of pain. If the myelinated fiber is dissected, the projection neuron generates action potentials that would convey to brain and elicit pain. However, if the unmyelinated fiber is dissected, projection neuron remains silent. In this study all of the simulations are preformed using Simulink.