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Neuronal conduction of excitation without action potentials based on ceramide production

Researchers from the Laboratoire de Physiologie Neurovg tative (CNRS-INRA-Universit Paul C zanne), the Laboratoire de Chimie Biologique Applique (INRA-Universit Paul Czanne) and from the D partement Lipoprotines et M diateurs Lipidiques (INSERM, Hopital Purpan Toulouse), and in particular Professor Jean-Pierre Miolan, Dr Jean-Pierre Niel, Directeur de Recherche CNRS, Dr Franois Terc , Charg de Recherche INSERM, Dr Abel Hiol Ma tre de confrence and Dr Caroline Fasano, author in 2004 of the PhD thesis Sphingolipides et physiologie des ganglions sympathiques pr vertbraux , have succeeded in demonstrating that a neuronal network in mammals can work perfectly with a mode of conduction of excitation that is independent of action potentials.

This new mechanism involves molecules known to play a role in numerous mechanisms of cell functioning, but not hitherto in conduction of excitation. To elucidate this mechanism, the teams have used a model of integrated physiology on an in vitro preparation in the mammal. This study has been performed using neuropharmacological and biochemical techniques.

This study, reporting the first discovery of conduction of excitation without action potentials, opens up new perspectives for research by breaking away from the classic concept of neuronal functioning. The neurons would thus be fitted with two modes of conduction of excitation, fast and slow, which might be used in different circumstances. This would have important consequences in the fields of physiological research and clinical practice.

Contact: Lise Grandperrin
Public Library of Science

Page: 1

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