top of page


Reduced modeling of pacemaker spiking in dorsal raphe nucleus 

and locus coeruleus neurons


Ying  Zhou,  Henry  C. Tuckwell  and  Nicholas  J. Penington  (2022).   Reduced   modeling   of   pacemaker   spiking  in

dorsal  raphe  nucleus  and  locus  coeruleus  neurons.  Journal  of  Multiscale  Neuroscience 1(2),  83-95.


Many central neurons, particularly certain brainstem aminergic neurons, exhibit spontaneous and fairly regular spiking with frequencies of order a few Hz. Many ion channel types contribute to such spiking, so accurate modeling of spike generation requires solving very large systems of differential equations, ordinary in the first instance. Since the analysis of spiking behavior when many synaptic inputs are active adds further to the number of components, it is useful to have simplified mathematical models of spiking in such neurons so that, for example, inputs and output spike features trains can be incorporated, including stochastic effects. In this article, we consider a simple two-component model whose solutions can mimic features of spiking in serotonergic neurons of the dorsal raphe nucleus and noradrenergic neurons of the locus coeruleus. The model is of the Fitzhugh-Nagumo type, and solutions are computed with two representative sets of parameters. Frequency versus input currents reveals Hodgkin type 2 behavior, which is supported by bifurcation and phase plane analysis. The article concludes with a brief review of the previous modeling of these types of neurons and their relevance to serotonergic and noradrenergic involvement studies in certain cognitive processes and pathologies.

Keywords: Dorsal raphe nucleus, serotonergic neurons, locus coeruleus, noradrenergic neurons, computational model, pacemaker

Conflict of Interest

    The authors declare no conflict of interest

Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Neural Press.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the CC BY 4.0 license.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data in the Journal of Multiscale Neuroscience are solely those of the individual authors and contributors, not those of the Neural Press™ or the editors(s).

bottom of page