Salty What? Saltatory Conduction

Information travels faster in axons that are insulated with myelin. Myelin is produced by glial support cells. Myelin wraps around the axon and helps electrical current flow down the axon (just like wrapping tape around a leaky water hose would help water flow down the hose).


However, the myelin insulation does not cover the entire axon. Rather there are breaks in the wrapping. These breaks are called nodes of Ranvier. The distance between these nodes is between 0.2 and 2 mm. Action potentials traveling down the axon "jump" from node to node. This is called saltatory conduction which means "to leap." Saltatory conduction is a faster way to travel down an axon than traveling in an axon without myelin.