Neural coding: hybrid analog and digital signalling in axons

Curr Biol. 2006 Aug 8;16(15):R585-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2006.07.007.


Mammalian axons are thought to act as digital signaling devices, conveying information only by the timing and rate of all-or-none action potentials. Two recent studies now show that synaptic potentials can also spread far down the axon and influence action potential-triggered transmitter release in a graded, 'analog' manner. Axons thus encode information both about subthreshold and suprathreshold synaptic activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents