Small voltage changes at nerve terminals travel up axons to affect action potential initiation

Nat Neurosci. 2009 May;12(5):541-3. doi: 10.1038/nn.2301. Epub 2009 Apr 6.

Abstract

Nerve terminals are generally considered to be the destination points for electrical signals, which propagate unidirectionally from the soma to nerve terminals. We found that small hyperpolarizations or depolarizations ( approximately 10 mV) generated under physiological conditions in rat nerve terminals backpropagated up the axon ( approximately 400-800 microm) and changed the threshold for initiating action potentials and thus firing patterns. These results suggest a mechanism for information processing in neurons and neuronal circuits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Auditory Pathways / cytology
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Cochlear Nucleus / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Presynaptic Terminals / drug effects
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rhombencephalon / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*