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Modify existing models

In this document, we assume that we already have a xolotl model set up. Here, we will learn how to

  • modify parameters of a model one by one
  • modify parameters of a model using pattern matching
  • remove components from a model
  • add new components to a model

Modifying the parameters of an existing model

Modify model parameter manually

Numerical parameters of xolotl objects, such as maximal conductances can be changed by setting the value of the parameter to the new parameter. For example, to change the maximal conductance gbar of the NaV conductance in the AB compartment of the x xolotl object to , you can do this:

x = xolotl.examples.neurons.BurstingNeuron;
x.AB.NaV.gbar = 10;

Modify model parameters using pattern matching

The find and get functions are robust searching tools for accessing parameters in xolotl. They are especially useful when you want to change many parameters at once.

Both functions accept cells of character vectors or character vectors as arguments. The find function returns a list of all fields of the xolotl structure as a cell of character vectors that fit that description. The get function works the same way, except that it returns the actual values of those fields. Under the hood, the get function is really just an extension of find.

It is important to note that both functions will find all fields that match any part of the search query. You can use asterisks * to "wildcard" that is, mean "anything here." This is useful especially between parts you want to specifically match for (such as 'AB*gbar').

These functions also work "down the tree," meaning that they are functions of each compartment, conductance, and so on, and search only within the part of the tree specified. For example, x.AB.find('*') will fetch every property of the AB compartment, but none in other compartments.

Get all conductances in all compartments.

x = xolotl.examples.neurons.BurstingNeuron;
% x.find('condu'), x.find('conduct'), 
% ... x.find('conductance') also work 

Will show you this:

ans =

  8×1 cell array

    {'AB.CaS'     }
    {'AB.CaT'     }
    {'AB.KCa'     }
    {'AB.Kd'      }
    {'AB.Leak'    }
    {'AB.NaV'     }

Get the names of all conductances in the AB compartment.


will show you:

ans =

  8×1 cell array

    {'CaS'     }
    {'CaT'     }
    {'KCa'     }
    {'Kd'      }
    {'Leak'    }
    {'NaV'     }

Get the names of all maximal conductances in in AB compartment.


will show you

ans =

  8×1 cell array

    {'AB.CaS.gbar'     }
    {'AB.CaT.gbar'     }
    {'AB.KCa.gbar'     }
    {'AB.Kd.gbar'      }
    {'AB.Leak.gbar'    }
    {'AB.NaV.gbar'     }

Get the names of all maximal conductances in the AB compartment from within the compartment's scope (note the importance of the wildcard *).

ans =

  8×1 cell array

    {'CaS.gbar'     }
    {'CaT.gbar'     }
    {'KCa.gbar'     }
    {'Kd.gbar'      }
    {'Leak.gbar'    }
    {'NaV.gbar'     }

Get the values of some arbitrary properties. In this case, we find the reversal potentials of the ACurrent and the HCurrent conductances in the AB compartment.


will get

ans =


To get multiple, specific parameters, use a cell array as follows:

x.AB.NaV.get({'E', 'gbar'})

will show

ans =


Using set to change many parameters at once

Sometimes you want to set a bunch of parameters at once, such as all of the maximal conductances, to values stored in a vector. You can do this line by line using the "dot" notation as above, or use the set function to set all the parameters at once.

The set function expects the same searching syntax as find and get, however it also takes another argument which is the vector of values to assign to the parameters.

If you wanted to set the maximal conductances of a single-compartment Hodgkin-Huxley cell (HH) with fast sodium (NaV), delayed rectifier potassium (Kd), and Leak conductances, you could set the parameters manually by

x = xolotl.examples.neurons.HodgkinHuxley;
x.HH.Kd.gbar = 300;
x.HH.Leak.gbar = 0.1;
x.HH.NaV.gbar = 1000;

or use the set function with the argument '*gbar', meaning "all parameters of x ending in 'gbar'."

x.set('*gbar', [300, 0.1, 1000]);

Remove a component from a model

You can remove any component from the model by calling its destroy method. For example:


destroys the Leak conductance from the HH compartment.

Add a new component to an existing model

Xolotl objects are MATLAB objects. You can add new network components on-the-fly by using the add function for compartments, conductances, and mechanisms, and the connect function for synapses.

See Also