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NeuroDynamix IIConcepts of Neurophysiology Illustrated by Computer Simulations$
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W. Otto Friesen and Jonathon Friesen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371833.001.0001

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Basis of the Nerve Impulse

Basis of the Nerve Impulse

(p.51) I.4 Basis of the Nerve Impulse
NeuroDynamix II

W. Otto Friesen

Jonathon A. Friesen

Oxford University Press

The rapid conduction of signals by neurons over distances greater than about 1 mm occurs almost exclusively by electrical impulses. This chapter presents the fundamental concepts that underlie the generation and propagation of these nerve impulses. After a brief historical summary, the remainder of the chapter describes the voltage-clamp experiments of A. L. Hodgkin and A. F. Huxley on the giant axon of the squid. The results and the conclusions furnished by these seminal experiments provide the bases for the current understanding of the electrical nature of neuronal signaling. The Hodgkin-Huxley experiments, together with the equations that encapsulate the experimental results, are presented here in detail to emphasize their central importance for neurophysiology and to present an exemplar of science at its best.

Keywords:   squid, axon, voltage clamp, ionic currents, activation, inactivation, parallel conductance model, Hodgkin, Huxley, space clamp, action potential, conduction velocity

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