Models of Spike Generation and Conduction

  • Ronald J. MacGregor
  • Edwin R. Lewis


The previous chapters in this section have discussed the generation and passive conduction of signals in neurons, noting that passively conducted signals are attenuated very severely even over short distances. When such signals are excitatory, they may lead to the generation of large-amplitude spikes, which in turn are continually provided with energy as they propagate and thus are conducted over essentially unlimited distances without attenuation. The low-amplitude signals that are excitatory and thus tend to trigger spikes are often called generator potentials. In this chapter, we shall discuss several models related to the triggering of spikes by generator potentials and the subsequent attenuationless propagation of those spikes along neuronal fibers. We will progress from the iron-wire analogy of the 1920s, through the threshold/accommodation models of the 1930s, to the Hodgkin-Huxley model of the early 1950s.


Membrane Potential Sodium Current Neural Modeling Membrane Capacitance Spike Generation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald J. MacGregor
    • 1
  • Edwin R. Lewis
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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