Can Neural Activity Propagate by Endogenous Electrical Field

" It is widely accepted that synaptic transmissions and gap junctions are the major governing mechanisms for signal traveling in the neural system. Yet, a group of neural waves, either physiological or pathological, share the same speed of ∼0.1 m/s without synaptic transmission or gap junctions, and this speed is not consistent with axonal conduction or ionic diffusion. The only explanation left is an electrical field effect. We tested the hypothesis that endogenous electric fields are sufficient to explain the propagation with in silico and in vitro experiments. … results show that despite their weak amplitude, electric fields can be solely responsible for spike propagation at aprox. 0.1 m/s."

So the results indicate that electric fields are capable of mediating propagation of the self-regenerating neural waves.

One of the interesting fact that they point out is that, for example, 4-AP-induced spikes still persisted when synapses and gap junctions were blocked in vitro, wich essentially suggest a non-synaptic governing mechanism.

Also is indicated that their model predict that cell-to-cell distance (extracellular space) could inversely affect speed due to field effect, and this prediction was tested in vitro with osmolarity experiments and the results are in accordance with expected ones.

Last modified on 14-Aug-16

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