, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 275-280

A distributed-parameter model of the myelinated human motor nerve fibre: temporal and spatial distributions of action potentials and ionic currents

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Abstract

A double cable model of the myelinated human motor nerve fibre is presented. The model is based on the nodal and internodal channels in a previous, two-component model of human motor axons (Bostock et al. 1991), added to a complex extended cable structure of nodal, paranodal and internodal segments. The model assumes a high-resistance myelin sheath and a leakage pathway to the internodal axolemma via the paranodal seal resistance and periaxonal space. The parameter values of the model were adjusted to match the recordings of threshold electrotonus in human motor fibres from Bostock et al. (1991). Kirchoff 's current law was used to derive a system of partial differential equations for the electrical equivalent circuit, and numerical integration was performed with a fixed time increment and non-uniform spatial step sizes, in accordance with the complex structure of the fibre. The model calculations provide estimates of the spatial and temporal distributions of action potentials and their transaxonal and transmyelin components, both in different segments of the fibre and at different moments during action potential propagation. The distribution of transaxonal and transmyelin currents along the fibre and their contributions from different ionic channels are also explored.