MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

509 views

Explain the difference in the speed of conduction of an action potential along the length of a myelinated neurone and a non-myelinated neurone.

First, we need to explain how the action potential is conducted along the length of the axon.

An action potential is transferred along an axon by the movement of Na+ and K+ ions into and out of the cell. These are controlled by voltage-gated Naand K+ channels. 

When the neuron is stimulated, the voltage-gated Na+ ion channels open, causing Na+ ions to flood into the cell. There is a positive charge inside the cell and a negative charge outside.

This change in charge causes K+ channels to open and Na+ channels to close. K+ ions diffuse out and the charge builds up so that there is a positive charge outside the cell and a negative charge inside.

This change in charge again causes the Na+ channels to open and the K+ channels to close. This occurs like a wave along the length of the axon and the signal travels away.

We also need to look at the soidum potassium pump. In an non-myelinated neuron these will occur along the entire length of the axon. Whereas, in a myelinated neuron, these occur in the gaps between Schwann cells which coat the axon.

In myelinated neurons this will occur by 'saltatory conduction' - so the action potential jumps between neurons. You can think of this like skipping, the signal travels faster by jumping a bit.

Catherine H. GCSE Biology tutor, A Level Biology tutor, IB Biology tu...

1 year ago

Answered by Catherine, an A Level Biology tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

221 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£22 /hr

Tavishi K.

Degree: Medicine (Other) - Cambridge University

Subjects offered:Biology, Maths+ 6 more

Biology
Maths
Chemistry
.UKCAT.
.BMAT (BioMedical Admissions)
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-
-Medical School Preparation-

“Hello! I am about to go into my fourth year of Medicine at Cambridge. I recently graduated in June with a BA degree...”

MyTutor guarantee

|  1 completed tutorial

£20 /hr

Qasim J.

Degree: Medicine (Bachelors) - Birmingham University

Subjects offered:Biology, Maths+ 3 more

Biology
Maths
Chemistry
-Personal Statements-
-Medical School Preparation-

“A 4th year medical student with an adaptable and organised approach. Well-planned revision with exam practice ensures knowledge and fantastic exam technique!”

Trusted by schools

|  2 completed tutorials

£22 /hr

Gayathri S.

Degree: Medicine (Bachelors) - Birmingham University

Subjects offered:Biology, Maths+ 3 more

Biology
Maths
.UKCAT.
-Personal Statements-
-Medical School Preparation-

“I’m a medical student keen to pass on my passion for learning to others! I’m immediately available to tutor at flexible times.”

About the author

Catherine H.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Biochemistry with Psychology (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered:Biology, Science+ 1 more

Biology
Science
Chemistry

“I am a third year student at the University of Exeter studying for a BSc in Biochemistry with Psychology. I find science really exciting and would love to show you why! These tutoring sessions will be tailor-made to you. Whatever yo...”

MyTutor guarantee

|  5 completed tutorials

You may also like...

Other A Level Biology questions

Write 0.24242424... as a fraction in its lowest terms, show all your working

What is evolution and why does it happen?

What happens during mitosis?

What is the structure of DNA?

View A Level Biology tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok