The Electrotonic Transformation: a Tool for Relating Neuronal Form to Function

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 7 (NIPS 1994)

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Nicholas T. Carnevale, Kenneth Y. Tsai, Brenda Claiborne, Thomas Brown


The spatial distribution and time course of electrical signals in neurons have important theoretical and practical consequences. Because it is difficult to infer how neuronal form affects electrical signaling, we have developed a quantitative yet intuitive approach to the analysis of electrotonus. This approach transforms the architecture of the cell from anatomical to electrotonic space, using the logarithm of voltage attenuation as the distance metric. We describe the theory behind this approach and illustrate its use.