Neoreticularism and neuronal polarization. Academic Article uri icon


  • Santiago Ramón y Cajal made immense contributions to neuroscience, and the era in which his work is cited is likely to be longer than that for any other present or future neuroscientist. This commentary notes that there is qualification to the doctrine that neurons are distinct entities rather than reticular. Namely, gap junctions provide a private pathway between coupled cells that, at an ultramicroscopic scale, can be considered cytoplasmic continuity. Cytoplasmic continuity permits, but does not require, conduction in either direction across an electrical synapse. Furthermore, sites of impulse initiation can differ in the same or different cells; there is no universal direction of impulse propagation and it may differ in the same cell under different conditions; thus, there are exceptions to the law of "dynamic polarization". Cajal leaves ample evidence in his writings that he would have no difficulty in accepting these very minor modifications to the vast body of his contributions.

publication date

  • 2002