PMID: 5912207Jun 1, 1966

The influence of diameter of medullated nerve fibres of cats on the rising and falling phases of the spike and its recovery

The Journal of Physiology
A S Paintal


1. The relation of conduction velocity, i.e. fibre diameter (Hursh, 1939a) to certain temporal dimensions of the nerve impulse recorded monophasically was studied in medullated fibres of cats in vivo at temperatures mostly ranging between 21 and 37 degrees C.2. Contrary to existing belief, it was demonstrated unequivocally that spike duration varies inversely with the conduction velocities of the fibres; so also the durations of the rising and the falling phases (rise-time and fall-time) of the impulse. The fall-time is linearly related to conduction velocity at all recorded temperatures. The rise-time varies steeply with conduction velocity at the lower levels of conduction rate, and very gradually at the higher conduction rates.3. The spike duration of preganglionic sympathetic fibres is identical with that of somatic medullated fibres with similar conduction velocities. There is therefore little justification for classifying them separately as so-called B fibres.4. The rate of recovery of spike amplitude following a preceding impulse also varies inversely with conduction velocity, and in the same manner as the absolute refractory period (ARP). In fact the relation of time for 40% recovery of spike amplitude to conduction vel...Continue Reading


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