DOI: 10.14704/nq.2009.7.4.261

Remarks on the Number of Tubulin Dimers Per Neuron and Implications for Hameroff-Penrose Orch OR

Danko Georgiev


Stuart Hameroff has wrongly estimated that a typical brain neuron has 107 tubulin dimers and wrongly attributed this result to Yu and Baas. In this letter we show that Hameroff’s estimate is based on misunderstanding of the results provided by Yu and Baas, who actually measured the total microtubule length in a single axonal projection with length of 56 μm in a differentiating in vitro stage 3 embryonic hippocampal neuron. In order to visualize how big Hameroff’s error is, we have reconstructed two of the studied by Yu and Baas embryonic hippocampal neurons with Neuromantic v1.6.3 and compared them with previously published reconstructions of adult hippocampal neurons. Correct calculations show that an adult differentiated pyramidal neuron in vivo has approximately 1.3×109 tubulin dimers incorporated in cytoskeletal microtubules. This estimate has profound implications for the Hameroff-Penrose Orch OR model, because it sets limitations on the number of quantum coherent neurons and implies that if 100% of the neuronal microtubules are quantum coherent for 25 ms then Hameroff-Penrose Orch OR conscious events should involve only 15 pyramidal neurons.


tubulin dimer; pyramidal neuron; embryonic neuron; Hameroff-Penrose; Orch OR

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