Syncytial tissues, such as the smooth muscle of the urinary bladder wall, are known to produce action potentials (spikes) with marked differences in their shapes and sizes. The need for this diversity is currently unknown, and neither is their origin understood. The small size of the cells, their syncytial arrangement, and the complex nature of innervation poses significant challenges for the experimental investigation of such tissues. To obtain better insight, we present here a three-dimensional electrical model of smooth muscle syncytium, developed using the compartmental modeling technique, with each cell possessing active channel mechanisms capable of producing an action potential. This enables investigation of the syncytial effect on action potential shapes and their propagation. We show how a single spike shape could undergo modulation, resulting in diverse shapes, owing to the syncytial nature of the tissue. Differences in the action potential features could impact their capacity to propagate through a syncytium. This is illustrated through comparison of two distinct action potential mechanisms. A better understanding of the origin of the various spike shapes would have significant implications in pathology, assisting in evaluating the underlying cause and directing their treatment.
- Physiology (medical)
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems