A quantitative description of membrane currents in rabbit myelinated nerve

J Physiol. 1979 Jul;292:149-66. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1979.sp012843.


1. Voltage-clamp studies were carried out on single rabbit myelinated nerve fibres at 14 degrees C with the method of Dodge & Frankenhaeuser (1958). 2. A method was developed to allow the ionic currents through the modal membrane to be calibrated exactly under voltage-clamp conditions by measuring the resistance of the internode through which the current was injected. 3. The ionic currents in a rabbit node of Ranvier can be resolved into two components, a sodium current and a leak current. Potassium current is almost entirely absent. 4. The sodium currents in rabbit nodes were fitted by the Hodgkin-Huxley model using m2h kinetics. The kinetics of sodium currents in a rabbit node differ from that in a frog node under similar experimental conditions in two respects: (a) inactivation is faster, tau h for rabbit being 2-3 times smaller around -50 mV; (b) the P(Na) (E) curve for mammal is shifted 10-15 mV in the hyperpolarizing direction. 5. From the kinetics of sodium current, the non-propagating rabbit action potential was reconstructed at 14 degrees C. The transient inward sodium current is responsible for the fast initial depolarization phase of the action potential, while the repolarizing phase is accounted for by leak alone. The computed shape of the action potential was in good agreement with the experimentally obtained action potential. 6. At 14 degrees C, frog and rabbit nodes with similar diameters have similar measured gNa values.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology*
  • Potassium / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Rana pipiens
  • Ranvier's Nodes / physiology
  • Sodium / physiology


  • Sodium
  • Potassium