Max Planck: New study provides unprecedented insight into the fine details of neuronal communication
Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience uncover important organizational features of axonal excitability in a near synapse-by-synapse manner
- Neurons are the basic information processing structures in the brain and consist of three parts: dendrites, responsible for receiving information; axons, responsible for sending information; and the soma, the cell body that contains the nucleus.
- For communication between neurons to occur, an electrical impulse, called an action potential, must travel down an axon to its synaptic terminal.
- A major technical challenge impeding the direct examination of this process, axonal excitability, is the small diameter of a typical axon – less than 500 nanometers.
- Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience researchers have now optimized optical and electrophysiological recordings from single neurons to study axonal excitability with unprecedented detail.
- These sophisticated approaches allow for the further understanding of basic principles of neuronal communication.