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Energy-efficient action potentials in hippocampal mossy fibers.

Action potentials in nonmyelinated axons are considered to contribute substantially to activity-dependent brain metabolism. Here we show that fast Na+ current decay and delayed K+ current onset during action potentials in nonmyelinated mossy fibers of the rat hippocampus minimize the overlap of their respective ion fluxes. This results in total Na+ influx and associated energy demand per action potential of only 1.3 times the theoretical minimum, in contrast to the factor of 4 used in previous energy budget calculations for neural activity. Analysis of ionic conductance parameters revealed that the properties of Na+ and K+ channels are matched to make axonal action potentials energy-efficient, minimizing their contribution to activity-dependent metabolism.

Pubmed ID: 19745156


  • Alle H
  • Roth A
  • Geiger JR


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

September 11, 2009

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Axons
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Mossy Fibers, Hippocampal
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium
  • Potassium Channels
  • Presynaptic Terminals
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium
  • Sodium Channels
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase
  • Synaptic Transmission