The Journal of Physiology

Cover image for Vol. 593 Issue 2

Edited By: David Paterson

Impact Factor: 4.544

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 8/81 (Physiology); 55/252 (Neurosciences)

Online ISSN: 1469-7793

Associated Title(s): Experimental Physiology

Celebrating the work of Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley


Published online: 1 May 2012

Papers selected by Jamie Vandenberg and Stephen G. Waxman.


Table of Contents

Cover image shows portraits of Alan Hodgkin (left) and Andrew Huxley (right) licensed from the National Portrait Gallery London, the Brunswiga calculating machine used by Andrew Huxley and Fig. 15A and C from Hodgkin & Huxley (1952; J Physiol 117, 500–544).


In 1939 Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley began a collaboration that resulted in 14 papers and culminated in the publication, in The Journal of Physiology in 1952, of a series of five papers that provided a comprehensive explanation of the propagation of electrical signals in the squid giant axon. Not only did this work revolutionize our understanding of the propagation of electrical signals in animal cells, the last of these papers (A quantitative description of membrane current and its application to conduction and excitation in nerve: J Physiol 117, 500–544) ushered in an era of integrative physiology that led directly to the modern day field of systems biology. The enduring legacy of this truly seminal paper is reflected in the fact that it has been cited over 9000 times with over 300 of those citations in the last 12 months alone.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1952 papers, The Journal of Physiology is pleased to release this virtual issue that commemorates the enduring legacy of the Hodgkin and Huxley collaboration. The issue starts with nine of the papers published by Alan Hodgkin, Andrew Huxley and Bernard Katz between 1947 and 1952. There are then two short historical perspectives from Alan Hodgkin (originally published in 1976) and Andrew Huxley (published in 2002) followed by a selection of papers that reflect the influence that their work has had on the generations that followed.

In addition to this virtual issue, The Journal of Physiology will be publishing a special focused issue on ion channel physiology later this year, which will include original research articles as well as review articles from eminent ion channel physiologists.

Stephen G. Waxman and Jamie I. Vandenberg
On behalf of The Journal of Physiology

Table of Contents

The Hodgkin–Huxley papers

Hodgkin AL & Huxley AF (1947).
Potassium leakage from an active nerve fibre.
J Physiol
106, 341–367.

Hodgkin AL & Katz B (1949).
The effect of sodium ions on the electrical activity of giant axon of the squid.
J Physiol 108, 37–77.

Hodgkin AL & Katz B (1949).
The effect of temperature on the electrical activity of the giant axon of the squid.
J Physiol 109, 240–249.

Hodgkin AL & Katz B (1949).
The effect of calcium on the axoplasm of giant nerve fibers.
J Exp Biol 26, 292–294.

Hodgkin AL, Huxley AF & Katz B (1952).
Measurement of current–voltage relations in the membrane of the giant axon of Loligo.
J Physiol 116, 424–448.

Hodgkin AL & Huxley AF (1952).
Currents carried by sodium and potassium ions through the membrane of the giant axon of Loligo.
J Physiol 116, 449–472.

Hodgkin AL & Huxley AF (1952).
The components of membrane conductance in the giant axon of Loligo.
J Physiol 116, 473–496.

Hodgkin AL & Huxley AF (1952).
The dual effect of membrane potential on sodium conductance in the giant axon of Loligo.
J Physiol 116, 497–506.

Hodgkin AL & Huxley AF (1952).
A quantitative description of membrane current and its application to conduction and excitation in nerve.
J Physiol 117, 500–544.

Historical articles

Hodgkin AL (1976).
Chance and design in electrophysiology – informal account of certain experiments on nerve carried out between 1934 and 1952.
J Physiol 263, 1–21.

Huxley AF (2002).
Hodgkin and the action potential 1935–1952.
J Physiol 538, 2.

Research papers

Fatt P & Katz B (1953).
The electrical properties of crustacean muscle fibres.
J Physiol 120, 171–204.

Weidmann S (1955).
The effect of the cardiac membrane potential on the rapid availability of the sodium-carrying system.
J Physiol 127, 213–224.

Coombs JS, Eccles JC & Fatt P (1955).
The specific ionic conductances & the ionic movements across the motoneuronal membrane that produce the inhibitory post-synaptic potential.
J Physiol 130, 326–373.

Frankenhaeuser B & Hodgkin AL (1957).
The action of calcium on the electrical properties of squid axons.
J Physiol 137, 218–244.

Holman ME (1958).
Membrane potentials recorded with high-resistance micro-electrodes; and the effects of changes in ionic environment on the electrical and mechanical activity of the smooth muscle of the taenia coli of the guinea-pig.
J Physiol 141, 464–488.

Noble D (1962).
Modification of hodgkin–huxley equations applicable to purkinje fibre action and pace-maker potentials.
J Physiol 160, 317–352.

Frankenhaeuser B & Huxley AF (1964).
Action potential in myelinated nerve fibre of Xenopus laevis as computed on basis of voltage clamp data.
J Physiol 171, 302–315.

Fleidervish IA, Friedman A & Gutnick MJ (1996).
Slow inactivation of Na+ current and slow cumulative spike adaptation in mouse and guinea-pig neocortical neurones in slices.
J Physiol 493, 83–97.

Katz B & Miledi R (1967).
A study of synaptic transmission in absence of nerve impulses.
J Physiol 192, 407–436.

Connor JA & Stevens CF (1971).
Prediction of repetitive firing behaviour from voltage clamp data on an isolated neurone soma.
J Physiol 213, 31–53.

Magleby KL & Stevens CF (1972).
Quantitative description of end-plate currents.
J Physiol 223, 173–197.

Bezanilla F, Caputo C, Gonzalez-Serratos H & Venosa RA (1972).
Sodium dependence of inward spread of activation in isolated twitch muscle fibers of frog.
J Physiol 223, 507–523.

Adrian RH & Peachey LD (1973).
Reconstruction of action potential of frog sartorius muscle.
J Physiol 235, 103–131.

Keynes RD & Rojas E (1974).
Kinetics and steady-state properties of charged system controlling sodium conductance in squid giant-axon.
J Physiol 239, 393–434.

Jan LY & Jan YN (1976).
Properties of the larval neuromuscular junction in Drosophila melanogaster.
J Physiol 262, 189–214.

Thompson SH (1977).
Three pharmacologically distinct potassium channels in molluscan neurons.
J Physiol 265, 465–488.

Beeler GW & Reuter H (1977).
Reconstruction of action potential of ventricular myocardial fibres.
J Physiol 268, 177–210.

Baylor DA, Lamb TD & Yau KW (1979).
Membrane current of single rod outer segments.
J Physiol 288, 589–611.

Llinas R & Sugimori M (1980).
Electro-physiological properties of invitro purkinje-cell somata in mammalian cerebellar slices.
J Physiol 305, 171–195.

Brown AM, Lee KS & Powell T (1981).
Sodium current in single-rat heart-muscle cells.
J Physiol 318, 479–500.

Mayer ML & Westbrook GL (1983).
A voltage-clamp analysis of inward (anomalous) rectification in mouse spinal sensory ganglion neurons.
J Physiol 340, 19–45.

Cahalan MD, Chandy KG, DeCoursey TE & Gupta S (1985).
A voltage-gated potassium channel in human T-lymphocytes.
J Physiol 358, 197–237.

Storm JF (1987).
Action-potential repolarization and a fast after-hyperpolarization in rat hippocampal pyramidal cells.
J Physiol 385, 733–759.

Hagiwara N, Irisawa H & Kameyama M (1988).
Contribution of 2 types of calcium currents to the pacemaker potentials of rabbit sino-atrial node cells.
J Physiol 395, 233–253.

Ogata N & Tatebayashi H (1993).
Kinetic-analysis of 2 types of Na+ channels in rat dorsal-root ganglia.
J Physiol 466, 9–37.

Wang S, Liu S, Morales MJ, Strauss HC & Rasmusson RL (1997).
A quantitative analysis of the activation and inactivation kinetics of HERG expressed in Xenopus oocytes.
J Physiol 502, 45–60.

Herzog RI, Cummins TR, Ghassemi F, Dib-Hajj SD & Waxman SG (2003).
Distinct repriming and closed-state inactivation kinetics of Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 sodium channels in mouse spinal sensory neurons.
J Physiol 551, 741–750.

Sheets PL, Jackson JO 2nd, Waxman SG, Dib-Hajj SD & Cummins TR (2007).
A Nav1.7 channel mutation associated with hereditary erythromelalgia contributes to neuronal hyperexcitability and displays reduced lidocaine sensitivity.
J Physiol 581, 1019–1031.