A Neural-Astrocytic Network Architecture: Astrocytic calcium waves modulate synchronous neuronal activity

Ioannis Polykretis, Vladimir Ivanov, Konstantinos P. Michmizos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


Understanding the role of astrocytes in brain computation is a nascent challenge, promising immense rewards, in terms of new neurobiological knowledge that can be translated into artificial intelligence. In our ongoing effort to identify principles endowing the astrocyte with unique functions in brain computation, and translate them into neural-astrocytic networks (NANs), we propose a biophysically realistic model of an astrocyte that preserves the experimentally observed spatial allocation of its distinct subcellular compartments. We show how our model may encode, and modulate, the extent of synchronous neural activity via calcium waves that propagate intracellularly across the astrocytic compartments. This relationship between neural activity and astrocytic calcium waves has long been speculated but it is still lacking a mechanistic explanation. Our model suggests an astrocytic "calcium cascade" mechanism for neuronal synchronization, which may empower NANs by imposing periodic neural modulation known to reduce coding errors. By expanding our notions of information processing in astrocytes, our work aims to solidify a computational role for non-neuronal cells and incorporate them into artificial networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICONS 2018 - Proceedings of International Conference on Neuromorphic Systems 2018
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Print)9781450365444
StatePublished - Jul 23 2018
Event2018 International Conference on Neuromorphic Systems, ICONS 2018 - Knoxville, United States
Duration: Jul 23 2018Jul 26 2018

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Other2018 International Conference on Neuromorphic Systems, ICONS 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Brain-morphic architecture
  • Event-based system
  • Neural Astrocytic Networks (NANs)
  • Non-Von Neumann computing model


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