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

Nature Neuroscience volume 12, pages 541543 (2009) | Download Citation

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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 (10 mV) generated under physiological conditions in rat nerve terminals backpropagated up the axon (400–800 μm) 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.

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Acknowledgements

We thank J. Diamond, A. Elhamdani, B. McNeil, D. Robinson and J. Xu for insightful comments. This work was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Program and a K22 Award to K.P. (K22NS051401).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    • Kenneth Paradiso
    •  & Ling-Gang Wu

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Contributions

K.P. designed, performed and analyzed the experiments and wrote the manuscript. L.-G.W. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript.

Note: Supplementary information is available on the Nature Neuroscience website.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Kenneth Paradiso or Ling-Gang Wu.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Text and Figures

    Supplementary Figures 1–5, Supplementary Table 1, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Results

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2301