Organization of ion channels in the myelinated nerve fiber

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Science  28 Jun 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4707, pp. 1502-1507
DOI: 10.1126/science.2409596


The functional organization of the mammalian myelinated nerve fiber is complex and elegant. In contrast to nonmyelinated axons, whose membranes have a relatively uniform structure, the mammalian myelinated axon exhibits a high degree of regional specialization that extends to the location of voltage-dependent ion channels within the axon membrane. Sodium and potassium channels are segregated into complementary membrane domains, with a distribution reflecting that of the overlying Schwann or glial cells. This complexity of organization has important implications for physiology and pathophysiology, particularly with respect to the development of myelinated fibers.