ERIC Number: EJ1037691
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
Easy Method to Examine Single Nerve Fiber Excitability and Conduction Parameters Using Intact Nonanesthetized Earthworms
Bähring, Robert; Bauer, Christiane K.
Advances in Physiology Education, v38 n3 p253-264 Sep 2014
The generation and conduction of neuronal action potentials (APs) were the subjects of a cell physiology exercise for first-year medical students. In this activity, students demonstrated the all-or-none nature of AP generation, measured conduction velocity, and examined the dependence of the threshold stimulus amplitude on stimulus duration. For this purpose, they used the median giant nerve fiber (MGF) in the ventral nerve cord of the common earthworm ("Lumbricus terrestris"). Here, we introduce a specialized stimulation and recording chamber that the nonanesthetized earthworm enters completely unforced. The worm resides in a narrow round duct with silver electrodes on the bottom such that individual APs of the MGF can be elicited and recorded superficially. Our experimental setup combines several advantages: it allows noninvasive single fiber AP measurements taken from a nonanesthetized animal that is yet restrained. Students performed the experiments with a high success rate. According to the data acquired by the students, the mean conduction velocity of the MGF was 30.2 m/s. From the amplitude-duration relationship for threshold stimulation, rheobase and chronaxie were graphically determined by the students according to Lapicque's method. The mean rheobase was 1.01 V, and the mean chronaxie was 0.06 ms. The acquired data and analysis results are of high quality, as deduced from critical examination based on the law of Weiss. In addition, we provide video material, which was also used in the practical course.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A