Power-law for axon diameters at branch point

Chklovskii, D. B., Stepanyants, A. (August 2003) Power-law for axon diameters at branch point. BMC Neuroscience, 4. ISSN 1471-2202

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URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12946281
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-4-18


Background: Axon calibers vary widely among different animals, neuron classes, and even within the same neuron. What determines the diameter of axon branches? Results: We pursue the hypothesis that the axon caliber has evolved to minimize signal propagation delays, while keeping arbor volume to a minimum. For a general cost function, we show that the optimal diameters of mother and daughter branches at a bifurcation satisfy a power law. The derivation relies on the fact that the axon conduction speed scales as a power of axon diameter. Although available data are consistent with the law, there is a large spread in the data. Future experimental tests will determine whether this spread is due to biological variability or measurement error. Conclusions: Minimization of arbor volume and signal propagation delay may have been an important factor in the evolution of the brain.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: OPTIMIZATION
Subjects: organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > axon
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Chklovskii lab
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: August 2003
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2013 13:33
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2013 13:33
PMCID: PMC201017
Related URLs:
URI: https://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/27980

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