Computation of impulse initiation and saltatory conduction in a myelinated nerve fiber

Biophys J. 1962 Jan;2(1):11-21. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3495(62)86837-4.


A mathematical model of the electrical properties of a myelinated nerve fiber is given, consisting of the Hodgkin-Huxley ordinary differential equations to represent the membrane at the nodes of Ranvier, and a partial differential cable equation to represent the internodes. Digital computer solutions of these equations show an impulse arising at a stimulating electrode and being propagated away, approaching a constant velocity. Action potential curves plotted against distance show discontinuities in slope, proportional to the nodal action currents, at the nodes. Action potential curves plotted against time, at the nodes and in the internodes, show a marked difference in steepness of the rising phase, but little difference in peak height. These results and computed action current curves agree fairly accurately with published experimental data from frog and toad fibers.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Axons*
  • Electrodes*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*