Impulses in rat locus coeruleus neurons exhibit pronounced conduction latency decreases, followed by even larger latency increases (of over 20 msec in some cases) during a single train of antidromic activation. The magnitude of latency fluctuation varies as a function of basal antidromic latency, frequency of stimulation, and number of stimuli in a train. These and additional data indicate that this variability in latency is a consequence of altered impulse conduction velocity along the axons, perhaps reflecting reduced ion concentration gradients resulting from impulse propagation. These latency changes may allow thin unmyelinated axons to influence target cells most effectively with short bursts of activity, and suggest that myelination and large axon diameter provide for high fidelity as well as for high velocity of impulse flow in nervous tissue.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology