Repolarization Time of Neuron

Dr Thomas Salt smgxt01 at ucl.ac.uk
Thu Apr 16 02:10:46 EST 1992

allens at yang.earlham.edu (Allen Smith) writes:

>        There seems to be a contradiction in the definitions of refractory
>period and repolarization time. What's the name for how long it takes
>before a neuron can send a signal again? On what does it primarily depend
>(myelinated/non-mylelinated, or what)?

>        -Allen

There is no contradiction.  The two are just not the same thing.  My
text book definintion of 'refractory period' comes from Kuffler &
Nicholls (paraphrase): The refractory period is a 
period of enforced silence during
which a second impulse (action potential cannot be initiated).

This is different from (and almost always longer than) the
repolarisation time, which is usually less than a millisecond, whereas
the refractorey period can be tens of ms long.  These two times depend
on the nature of the ion channels in individual neurones, and on the
membrane capacitance.

	Tom Salt.

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