Can anyone suggest good sources or papers to understand about experimental setup and procedure for measuring nerve conduction velocity for various types of neurons?

I wish to learn how such experiments are done and get insight on how they were able to classify neurons based on conduction velocities as (alpha beta gamma) or I / II / III grade neurons especially for neurons that have small distances between axon and dendrites for it might be difficult to insert probes at cell body and measure signal at the synapse of that neuron to measure time elapsed in signal conduction or they measure for few neurons in chain and average out the time taken for conduction velocity.


1 Answer 1


I think there are many ways to accomplish this in terms of technical detail, but they will all boil down to measuring the arrival of an action potential along the axon on at least two points with known distance from each other on the axon. From these two arrival times the latency can be deducted. Then, by dividing the distance between the elektrodes by the latency (i.e., the time it took the action potential from going from electrode 1 to number 2), the conduction speed can be estimated. In a paper by DeMaegd et al. (2017) they use extracellular electrodes and the figure in their paper is quite informative (Fig.1 ).

Fig. 1. Measuring axon conduction velocity by recording action potentials. source: DeMaegd et al. (2017)

- DeMaegd et al., Bio Protocol (2017); 7(5)

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks but in C where signal is generated between wells , for well 1 wouldn't that mean signal is going backwards which is highly is restricted and why is second signal more sharp i.e more amplitude than before should it not attentuate (or is that because of amplification - related to experimental setup ?) $\endgroup$
    – pavan sai
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 3:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @pavansai - The retrograde AP in (C) is certainly possible; axons are not unidirectional; on the contrary, they sustain 2-way traffic. The refractory characteristics take care of the restriction that a running action potential proceeds unidirectionally and cannot propagate back to its point of origin. This restriction applies to anterograde APs as well as for antidromic APs. The different shape of the 2 APs in the graph have no physiological meaning; they are drawn that way in panels B and C identically. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for explaining $\endgroup$
    – pavan sai
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 5:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.