Channel noise in neurons

Trends Neurosci. 2000 Mar;23(3):131-7. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(99)01521-0.


The probabilistic gating of voltage-dependent ion channels is a source of electrical 'channel noise' in neurons. This noise has long been implicated in limiting the reliability (repeatability) of neuronal responses to repeated presentations of identical stimuli. More recently, it has been shown to increase the range of spiking behaviors exhibited in some neural populations. Channel numbers are tied to metabolic efficiency and the stability of resting potential, and channel noise might be exploited by future cochlear implants in order to improve the temporal representation of sound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology*
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Ion Channels