TUTCRIS - Tampereen teknillinen yliopisto


Reproducibility and Comparability of Computational Models for Astrocyte Calcium Excitability



JulkaisuFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2017
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli


The scientific community across all disciplines faces the same challenges of ensuring accessibility, reproducibility, and efficient comparability of scientific results. Computational neuroscience is a rapidly developing field, where reproducibility and comparability of research results have gained increasing interest over the past years. As the number of computational models of brain functions is increasing, we chose to address reproducibility using four previously published computational models of astrocyte excitability as an example. Although not conventionally taken into account when modeling neuronal systems, astrocytes have been shown to take part in a variety of in vitro and in vivo phenomena including synaptic transmission. Two of the selected astrocyte models describe spontaneous calcium excitability, and the other two neurotransmitter-evoked calcium excitability. We specifically addressed how well the original simulation results can be reproduced with a reimplementation of the models. Additionally, we studied how well the selected models can be reused and whether they are comparable in other stimulation conditions and research settings. Unexpectedly, we found out that three of the model publications did not give all the necessary information required to reimplement the models. In addition, we were able to reproduce the original results of only one of the models completely based on the information given in the original publications and in the errata. We actually found errors in the equations provided by two of the model publications; after modifying the equations accordingly, the original results were reproduced more accurately. Even though the selected models were developed to describe the same biological event, namely astrocyte calcium excitability, the models behaved quite differently compared to one another. Our findings on a specific set of published astrocyte models stress the importance of proper validation of the models against experimental wet-lab data from astrocytes as well as the careful review process of models. A variety of aspects of model development could be improved, including the presentation of models in publications and databases. Specifically, all necessary mathematical equations, as well as parameter values, initial values of variables, and stimuli used should be given precisely for successful reproduction of scientific results.


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