Amplitude-modulated spiking as a novel route to bursting: Coupling-induced mixed-mode oscillations by symmetry breaking

Morten Gram Pedersen, Morten Brøns, Mads Peter Sørensen

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Mixed-mode oscillations consisting of alternating small- and large-amplitude oscillations are increasingly well understood and are often caused by folded singularities, canard orbits, or singular Hopf bifurcations. We show that coupling between identical nonlinear oscillators can cause mixed-mode oscillations because of symmetry breaking. This behavior is illustrated for diffusively coupled FitzHugh-Nagumo oscillators with negative coupling constant, and we show that it is caused by a singular Hopf bifurcation related to a folded saddle-node (FSN) singularity. Inspired by earlier work on models of pancreatic beta-cells [Sherman, Bull. Math. Biol. 56, 811 (1994)], we then identify a new type of bursting dynamics due to diffusive coupling of cells firing action potentials when isolated. In the presence of coupling, small-amplitude oscillations in the action potential height precede transitions to square-wave bursting. Confirming the hypothesis from the earlier work that this behavior is related to a pitchfork-of-limit-cycles bifurcation in the fast subsystem, we find that it is caused by symmetry breaking. Moreover, we show that it is organized by a FSN in the averaged system, which causes a singular Hopf bifurcation. Such behavior is related to the recently studied dynamics caused by the so-called torus canards.
Original languageEnglish
Article number013121
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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