Physiology of conduction block in multifocal motor neuropathy and other demyelinating neuropathies

Muscle Nerve. 2003 Mar;27(3):285-96. doi: 10.1002/mus.10273.


Conduction block is an important functional consequence of demyelination whereby nervous transmission is abolished. Its mechanism has been discussed with respect to the loss of insulation due to disruption of myelin. Recent development of threshold tracking techniques, which enabled noninvasive assessment of axonal membrane potentials and ion channels, has provided evidence that axonal excitability changes significantly and contributes to conduction failure. This view, based upon axo-glial interaction, clarifies the mechanism of muscle fatigue and fasciculation associated with peripheral demyelination and possibly explains selective motor involvement in multifocal motor neuropathy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Neuron Disease / diagnosis*
  • Motor Neuron Disease / physiopathology*
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*