The biophysics of the nervous signalling process
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Part of a nerve containing a small number of nerve fibers was compressed by different amounts, different rates, and over different areas; it formed part of a nerve-muscle frog phalangeal preparation. Excitability, conduction, and electrical properties were studied in the compressed area where parabiosis had been induced, and in the periparabiotic area. Gradual compression of the nerve caused no spread of excitation, but blocked conduction, at first reversibly.
In the part of the nerve distal to the compressed area, where the number of nerve fibers was small, polarization developed only after conductivity had failed, and then the blockage was irreversible. When the proximal end containing a greater number of fibers was compressed depolarization occurred before and after conduction failed, and was evidently due to nerve fibers being destroyed at different times.
Changes of electrical excitability were detected 5 to 15 mm from the compressed area. These phasic changes of excitability in the periparabiotic area indicate that one area of a living system may influence another by means of continuous signalization, a process quite distinct from the passage of discreet nervous impulses.
KeywordsPublic Health Signalling Process Electrical Property Nerve Fiber Phasic Change
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