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A Finite Element Computational Approach to Simulate Excitation of the Nerve Impulse in Axon

Jing Chen, Jianyi Kang, Hui Zhao, Yong Ren, Yu Chen


An axon is the structural and functional unit for the generation and conduction of nerve impulse. Using biological experiments, mathematical modeling or simulations, previous studies on nerve electrical excitability do not provide a description for axon electrical activity during excitation as a three-dimensional geometric entity. In this paper, we propose a finite element modeling and numerical computation method to simulate excitation of the nerve impulse in axon. In the COMSOL Multiphysics environment, a three-dimensional finite element model of an initial axon segment is developed, and partial differential equations which describe the electrical conduction properties of an axon are established based on the Hodgkin-Huxley theory. Pulse current stimuli with different amplitudes and durations are applied to the axon finite element model. The equations are solved to produce the axon action potential curve and three-dimensional potential distribution. The computational results for the nerve impulses in axon are consistent with the response features of neurons under exogenous stimuli, which indicates that the axon finite element model and numerical computation method are reasonable and can act as new analysis model and computation method for an in-depth study on neuroelectricity.


finite element modeling, computational approach, nerve impulse.

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