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Biophys J. Mar 1995; 68(3): 779–785.
PMCID: PMC1281801

Threshold fluctuations in an N sodium channel model of the node of Ranvier.

Abstract

Computer simulations of stochastic single-channel open-close kinetics are applied to an N sodium channel model of a node of Ranvier. Up to 32,000 voltage-gated sodium channels have been simulated with modified amphibian sodium channel kinetics. Poststimulus time histograms are obtained with 1000 monophasic pulse stimuli, and measurements are made of changes in the relative spread of threshold (RS) with changes in the model parameters. RS is found to be invariant with pulse durations from 100 microseconds to 3 ms. RS is approximately of inverse proportion to square-root of N. It decreases with increasing temperature and is dependent on passive electrical properties of the membrane as well as the single-channel conductance. The simulated RS and its independence of pulse duration is consistent with experimental results from the literature. Thus, the microscopic fluctuations of single, voltage-sensitive sodium channels in the amphibian peripheral node of Ranvier are sufficient to account for the macroscopic fluctuation if threshold to electrical stimulation.

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Selected References

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