What is saltatory conduction?

Saltatory Conduction is different means of speeding the propagation of action potentials has evolved in vertebrates. Many axons in vertebrate nervous systems are myelinated, that is, coated with insulating layers of membranes deposited by glial cells or Schwann cells. The voltage-gated ion channels that produce the action potential are concentrated in the nodes of Ranvier, small gaps between successive Schwann cells along the axon. Also, extracellular fluid is in contact with the axon membrane only at the nodes, so that the flow of ions between the inside and outside of the axon can occur only in these regions. For these reasons, the action potential does not propagate in a continuous manner over the length of the axon, but rather “jumps” from node to node, skipping the insulated regions of membrane between the nodes. This mechanism, called       the saltatory conduction (L. se/tare, “to leap”), results in faster transmission of the nerve impulse. Fig. 2.7


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saltatory conduction

saltatory conduction

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