Stretch-grown axons retain the ability to transmit active electrical signals

FEBS Lett. 2006 Jun 12;580(14):3525-31. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2006.05.030. Epub 2006 May 22.


Little is known about extensive nervous system growth after axons reach their targets. Indeed, postnatal animals continue to grow, suggesting that axons are stretched to accommodate the expanding body. We have previously shown that axons can sustain stretch-growth rates reaching 1 cm/day; however, it remained unknown whether the ability to transmit active signals was maintained. Here, stretch-growth did not alter sodium channel activation, inactivation, and recovery or potassium channel activation. In addition, neurons generated normal action potentials that propagated across stretch-grown axons. Surprisingly, Na and K channel density increased due to stretch-growth, which may represent a natural response to preserve the fidelity of neuronal signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Rats
  • Sodium Channels / physiology


  • Potassium Channels
  • Sodium Channels