, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 129-144

Differences in Membrane Properties in Simulated Cases of Demyelinating Neuropathies: Internodal Focal Demyelinations with Conduction Block

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the membrane properties (potentials and axonal excitability indices) in the case of myelin wrap reduction (96%) in one, two and three consecutive internodes along the length of human motor nerve fibre. The internodally focally demyelinated cases (termed as IFD1, IFD2 and IFD3, respectively, with one, two and three demyelinated internodes are simulated using our previous double cable model of the fibre. The progressively greater increase of focal loss of myelin lamellae blocks the invasion of the intracellular potentials into the demyelinated zones. For all investigated cases, the radial decline of the extracellular potential amplitudes increases with the increase of the radial distance and demyelination, whereas the electrotonic potentials show a decrease in the slow part of the depolarizing and hyperpolarizing responses. The time constants are shorter and the rheobases higher for the IFD2 and IFD3 cases than for the normal case. In the recovery cycles, the same cases have less refractoriness, greater supernormality and less late subnormality than the normal case. The simulated membrane abnormalities can be observed in vivo in patients with demyelinating forms of Guillain-Barré syndrome. The study provides new information about the pathophysiology of acquired demyelinating neuropathies.