Flow-driven control of pulse width in excitable media

Adrian Paul Misselwitz, Suzanne Lafon, Jean Daniel Julien, Karen Alim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Models of pulse formation in nerve conduction have provided manifold insight not only into neuronal dynamics but also the nonlinear dynamics of pulse formation in general. Recent observation of neuronal electrochemical pulses also driving mechanical deformation of the tubular neuronal wall, and thereby generating ensuing cytoplasmic flow, now question the impact of flow on the electrochemical dynamics of pulse formation. Here, we theoretically investigate the classical Fitzhugh-Nagumo model, now accounting for advective coupling between the pulse propagator typically describing membrane potential and triggering mechanical deformations, and thus governing flow magnitude, and the pulse controller, a chemical species advected with the ensuing fluid flow. Employing analytical calculations and numerical simulations, we find that advective coupling allows for a linear control of pulse width while leaving pulse velocity unchanged. We therefore uncover an independent control of pulse width by fluid flow coupling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number054218
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


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