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Brain Res. 2016 Jun 15;1641(Pt A):11-33. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2016.02.015. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Evolution of rapid nerve conduction.

Author information

1
Békésy Laboratory of Neurobiology Pacific Biosciences Research Center University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 1993 East-West Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822, United States.
2
Békésy Laboratory of Neurobiology Pacific Biosciences Research Center University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 1993 East-West Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822, United States. Electronic address: danh@hawaii.edu.

Abstract

Rapid conduction of nerve impulses is a priority for organisms needing to react quickly to events in their environment. While myelin may be viewed as the crowning innovation bringing about rapid conduction, the evolution of rapid communication mechanisms, including those refined and enhanced in the evolution of myelin, has much deeper roots. In this review, a sequence is traced starting with diffusional communication, followed by transport-facilitated communication, the rise of electrical signaling modalities, the invention of voltage-gated channels and "all-or-none" impulses, the emergence of elongate nerve axons specialized for communication and their fine-tuning to enhance impulse conduction speeds. Finally within the evolution of myelin itself, several innovations have arisen and have been interactively refined for speed enhancement, including the addition and sealing of layers, their limitation by space availability, and the optimization of key parameters: channel density, lengths of exposed nodes and lengths of internodes. We finish by suggesting several design principles that appear to govern the evolution of rapid conduction. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Myelin Evolution.

KEYWORDS:

Calcium spike; Diffusion; Electrotonic conduction; Giant axon; Myelin evolution; Sodium spike

PMID:
26879248
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2016.02.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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