Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: axon; neuron; saltatory conduction; action potential; impulse propagation; HH model
Online: 30 August 2020 (18:39:44 CEST)
For more than 70 years, biologists and biophysicists have been trying to unravel the mystery that exists regarding the saltatory conduction of so-called myelinated neurons. Albert Einstein used the train metaphor to explain the theory of relativity. It is possible to use a similar metaphor to better understand this transient functioning of the neuron: the action potential. We will, once again, use a train to demonstrate unequivocally that the action potential does not jump from node of Ranvier to node of Ranvier (noR) as we thought it would. It is possible to describe that the neuron uses an elegant method to increase the speed of transmission of the neural message. It is also important to conclude that this increase in speed, contrary to the common idea, has a certain energy cost that is proportional to speed and in accordance with thermodynamics.