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Muscle Nerve. 2000 Sep;23(9):1365-73.

Excitability properties of median and peroneal motor axons.

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Department of Neurology, The Prince of Wales Hospital and Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, University of New South Wales, Randwick, Sydney, Australia.


Threshold tracking was used to compare excitability properties (stimulus-response curves, strength-duration properties, recovery cycle, and threshold electrotonus) of median motor axons at the wrist and peroneal motor axons at the ankle in 12 healthy subjects. Stimulus-response curves and strength-duration properties were similar, though higher stimulus intensities were required for peroneal axons. However, there were significant differences in the recovery cycle of excitability following a conditioning stimulus and in threshold electrotonus. In the recovery cycle, median axons had significantly greater supernormality and late subnormality. In threshold electrotonus, the initial slow threshold changes in response to subthreshold depolarizing and hyperpolarizing currents (S1) were significantly greater in median axons, and there was also greater accommodation to depolarizing currents (S2) and greater threshold undershoot after depolarization. Similar differences in supernormality and the S1 phase of threshold electrotonus were found between peroneal axons at ankle and knee, suggesting that these properties may be dependent on nerve length. When median motor axons at the wrist were compared with peroneal motor axons at the knee, there were no differences in refractoriness and supernormality and only small differences in S1, but the late subnormality and undershoot were significantly greater in the median axons. These findings suggest that, in addition to any length-dependent differences, peroneal axons have a less prominent slow K(+) conductance. We conclude that the properties of different motor axons are not identical and their responses to injury or disease may therefore differ.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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