Suppression of neurite elongation and growth cone motility by electrical activity

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Science  27 Jun 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4758, pp. 1638-1640
DOI: 10.1126/science.3715470


Electrical activity may regulate a number of neuronal functions in addition to its role in transmitting signals along nerve cells. The hypothesis that electrical activity affects neurite elongation in sprouting neurons was tested by stimulating individual snail neurons isolated in cell culture. The findings demonstrated that growth cone advance, and thus neurite elongation, is reversibly stopped during periods when action potentials are experimentally evoked. A decrease in filopodial number and growth cone area was also observed. Thus, action potentials can mediate the cessation of neurite outgrowth and thereby may influence structure and connectivity within the nervous system.