On biological signaling

Günter Nimtz 1  and Horst Aichmann 2
  • 1 II. Physikalisches Institut der Universität zu Koln, Zülpicher Str. 77, 50937, Cologne, Germany
  • 2 KWF, R & D, Zur Bitz 1, 61231, Bad Nauheim, Germany
Günter Nimtz
  • Corresponding author
  • II. Physikalisches Institut der Universität zu Koln, Zülpicher Str. 77, 50937, Cologne, Germany
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar
and Horst Aichmann


Presently, nerve pulse propagation is understood to take place by electric action pulses. The theoretical description is given by the Hodgkin-Huxley model. Recently, an alternative model was proclaimed, where signaling is carried out by acoustic solitons. The solitons are built by a local phase transition in the lyotropic liquid crystal (LLC) of a biologic membrane. We argue that the crystal structure arranging hydrogen bonds at the membrane surface do not allow such an acoustic soliton model. The bound water is a component of the LLC and the assumed phase transition represents a negative entropy step.

  • [1]

    A. L. Hodgkin and A. F. Huxley, J. Physiol., vol. 117, pp. 500, 1952.

  • [2]

    G. Nimtz. U. Hilgers, A. Spanoudaki, and M. Weidner, IEEE Symposium, Electromagneticcompatibility, pp. 201, 1999.

  • [3]

    R. H. Pearson and I. Pascher, Nature, vol. 281, pp. 499, 1979.

  • [4]

    G. Nimtz, A. Enders and B. Bingeli, Ber. Bunsenges. Phys. Chem., vol. 80, pp. 842, 1985.

  • [5]

    A. Enders and G. Nimtz, Ber. Bunsenges. Phys. Chem., vol. 88, pp. 512, 1984.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • [6]

    K. Zecchi, L. Mosgaard and T. Heimburg, IOP Conf. Series, vol. 780, pp. 012001, 2017.

  • [7]

    T. Heimburg and A. Jackson, PNAS July, vol. 12, 102, no. 28, pp. 9790–9795, 2005.

  • [8]

    T. Heimburg, Steve Novelle, NeuroLogicaBlog, Mar 19 2007.

  • [9]

    D. Fox, “Mechanical pulses, not electric signals,” Scientific American, April 2018.

  • [10]

    I. Sugar, E. Michonova-Alexova, and P Chong, Biophysical J., vol. 81, pp. 2425, 2001.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • [11]

    D. Wilkinson and J. Nagle, Biochemistry, vol. 18, pp. 4244, 1979.

  • [12]

    J. Nagle and S. Tristram-Nagle, Biochim. Biophys. Acta, vol. 1469, pp. 159, 2000.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • [13]

    L. Moosgaard, K. Zecchi, and T. Heimburg, Soft Matter, vol. 11, pp. 7899, 2015.

  • [14]

    A. Enders, Dissertation, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität zu Köln, Februar 1989.

  • [15]

    E.Schrödinger, What is Life?, Cambridge at the University Press, 1944.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.

Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

A Journal of Physical Sciences: Zeitschrift für Naturforschung A (ZNA) is an international scientific journal which publishes original research papers from all areas of experimental and theoretical physics. In accordance with the name of the journal, which means “Journal for Natural Sciences”, manuscripts submitted to ZNA should have a tangible connection to actual physical phenomena.