Energy and information in Hodgkin-Huxley neurons
A. Moujahid, A. d’Anjou, F. Torrealdea, F.J. Torrealdea. “Energy and information in Hodgking-Huxley neurons”. Physical Review E 83, 031912 (2011)
[EN]The generation of spikes by neurons is energetically a costly process and the evaluation of the metabolic energy required to maintain the signaling activity of neurons a challenge of practical interest. Neuron models are frequently used to represent the dynamics of real neurons but hardly ever to evaluate the electrochemical energy required to maintain that dynamics. This paper discusses the interpretation of a Hodgkin-Huxley circuit as an energy model for real biological neurons and uses it to evaluate the consumption of metabolic energy in the transmission of information between neurons coupled by electrical synapses, i.e., gap junctions. We show that for a single postsynaptic neuron maximum energy efficiency, measured in bits of mutual information per molecule of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) consumed, requires maximum energy consumption. For groups of parallel postsynaptic neurons we determine values of the synaptic conductance at which the energy efficiency of the transmission presents clear maxima at relatively very low values of metabolic energy consumption. Contrary to what could be expected, the best performance occurs at a low energy cost.