The non-linear relationship between nerve conduction velocity and skin temperature.
Median motor and sensory nerves were examined in 20 healthy subjects. Superficial stimulating and recording electrodes were used, and the nerves were examined at natural skin temperature, after cooling and after heating of the arm. The conduction velocity for the fastest and slow conducting sensory fibres (temperature range 17-37 degrees C), and for the fastest conducting motor fibres (temperature range 19-38 degrees C) increased non-linearly with increase in skin temperature. Similarly, distal motor latencies increased non-linearly with decrease in skin temperature. The effect of temperature was most pronounced in the low temperature range, and change in conduction velocity per degree centigrade was reduced toward higher skin temperature. Sensory nerve response duration increased linearly with decline in skin temperature. Sensory and motor amplitude did not show any significant relation to skin temperature.