Single fibre EMG was used to record bizarre repetitive discharges in patients with chronic denervation or muscle disorders. The low variability of intervals between individual spike components on successive discharges suggests that the bizarre repetitive discharges are based on ephaptic impulse transmission from the muscle fibre starting the discharge (principal pacemaker) to the adjacent muscle fibres. The low variability of the interdischarge intervals is explained by ephaptic reactivation of the principal pacemaker by one of the fibres participating in the previous discharge (a co-pacemaker). Secondary activator fibres may spread activity to more fibres. The bizarre repetitive discharge stops when either the principal pacemaker or the co-pacemaker become sufficiently subnormal to block. The co-pacemaker may be missing in cases of low frequency bizarre repetitive discharges, particularly in those with irregular interdischarge intervals.
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