JEAN-CLAUDE REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-CLAUDE REVY, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Node of Ranvier in a nerve fibre, light micrograph. The node is the gap at centre. The gap is a small area of demyelination in an otherwise myelinated nerve fibre. Myelin is a fatty tissue that surrounds nerve fibres, improving their conduction of signals. The nodes aid conduction by allowing depolarisation of the nerve fibre at the node. This has the effect of creating an action potential at the next node on the fibre, so that the nerve signal hops from node to node. This is known as saltatory conduction. It is a far faster method of signal transmission than that found in non-myelinated nerve fibres, in which the signal propagates down the entire length of the fibre. Magnification: x2800 when printed 10cm wide.
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