Slowly conducting myelinated fibers in peripheral neuropathy

Muscle Nerve. 1991 Jun;14(6):534-42. doi: 10.1002/mus.880140608.


The main component of the compound sensory action potential reflects the activity of large myelinated sensory fibers with diameters of greater than 9 micron(s). By recording the averaged potential using a needle electrode placed close to the nerve, small late components can be measured. The latency of these late components can be used to calculate minimum conduction velocity (CV); in normal subjects, average minimum CV is 15 m/s, corresponding to conduction in fibers of about 4 micron(s) in diameter. Minimum CV was measured in median, ulnar, and sural nerves of 187 patients with mild to severe neuropathic symptoms. A reduction in minimum CV was a sensitive measure of peripheral nerve dysfunction, often showing abnormalities when measures derived from the main component were normal. Patients with isolated abnormalities in minimum CV tended to have neuropathic symptoms but no signs of neuropathy. In addition, reduced minimum conduction velocity has implications for the pathology of different types of neuropathy. Slowing conducting potentials may originate from regenerating fibers, which may be of particular relevance in patients with neuropathic pain.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Electromyography
  • Extremities / innervation
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology*
  • Neural Conduction*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*