Excitation dynamics: insights from simplified membrane models

Fed Proc. 1985 Dec;44(15):2944-6.


Excitable nerve membranes and models for their electrical activity exhibit a broad repertoire of dynamic behavior. To reveal these behaviors the theoretician seeks a model that is simple enough to analyze yet one that retains adequate biophysical realism. Here we strike such a balance by describing a two-variable simplification of the Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) model, which exhibits many membrane phenomena and reproduces, with good agreement, many HH responses. Comparisons and illustrations are presented for the single spike response, repetitive firing (and its cessation by a brief current pulse), and bistable behavior for increased extracellular K+ concentrations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neurilemma / physiology*
  • Potassium / physiology
  • Sodium / physiology


  • Ion Channels
  • Sodium
  • Potassium