Digital Computer Solutions for Excitation and Propagation of the Nerve Impulse

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The Hodgkin-Huxley model of the nerve axon describes excitation and propagation of the nerve impulse by means of a nonlinear partial differential equation. This equation relates the conservation of the electric current along the cablelike structure of the axon to the active processes represented by a system of three rate equations for the transport of ions through the nerve membrane. These equations have been integrated numerically with respect to both distance and time for boundary conditions corresponding to a finite length of squid axon stimulated intracellularly at its midpoint. Computations were made for the threshold strength-duration curve and for the repetitive firing of propagated impulses in response to a maintained stimulus. These results are compared with previous solutions for the space-clamped axon. The effect of temperature on the threshold intensity for a short stimulus and for rheobase was determined for a series of values of temperature. Other computations show that a highly unstable subthreshold propagating wave is initiated in principle by a just threshold stimulus; that the stability of the subthreshold wave can be enhanced by reducing the excitability of the axon as with an anesthetic agent, perhaps to the point where it might be observed experimentally; but that with a somewhat greater degree of narcotization, the axon gives only decrementally propagated impulses. © 1966, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.




Cooley, J. W., & Dodge, F. A. (1966). Digital Computer Solutions for Excitation and Propagation of the Nerve Impulse. Biophysical Journal, 6(5), 583–599.

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