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HUBS191 Human Movement and Sensation > Bioelectricity > Flashcards

Flashcards in Bioelectricity Deck (32)
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2 main cations that create bioelectricity of a neuron

Na+ and K+


how is membrane potential created

- high Na+ conc (135-145mM) and low K+ conc (3.5-5mM) outside cell and low Na+ conc (12mM) and high K+ conc (150mM) inside cell created charge difference between two sides of membrane


typical RMP for living neurons



ion channels at RMP

most Na+ channels are closed; Some K+ channels are open


how is RMP maintained?

Na+/K+ pump (ATPase) shifts 3 Na+ out and 2 K+ in


ion channels

large proteins that form within the lipid bilayer to enable charge movement. highly selective


changes in membrane potential

resting, depolarised, repolarised/hyperpolarised


ion channels at depolarised RMP

Na+ channels open, Positive charges move IN, depolarised (less negative)


ion channels at repolarised RMP

K+ channels open, Positive charges move OUT, charge moves towards RMP


ion channels at hyperpolarised RMP

K+ channels open, Positive charges move OUT, charge moves past RMP


threshold potential

-59mV, minimum local potential that triggers an action potential, cell is depolarised


action potential

+30mV, temporary maximum depolarisation propagates along the axon without losing amplitude, cell is depolarised then repolarised


steps of action potential propagation

  1. stimulus triggers stimulus-gated Na+ channels to open and allow inward Na+ diffusion. This causes the membrane to depolarise
  2. as the threshold potential is reached, voltage-gated Na+ channels open
  3. as more Na+ enters the cell through voltage-gated Na+ channels, the membrane depolarises even further
  4. the magnitude of the AP peaks at +30mV when voltage-gated Na+ channels close
  5. repolarisation begins when voltage-gated K+ channels open, alloowing outward diffusion of K+
  6. after a brief period of hyperpolarisation, the resting potential is restored by the Na+/K+ pump and the return of ion channels to their resting state


conduction of AP down axons

relies on spread of depolarising electrical signal along the axon to activate the next set of voltage-gated Na+ channels


refractory period

time during which another AP cannot be passed down the same nerve, affects frequency of APs


how to improve conduction speed

myelin (insulation) of axon using schwann cells to allow saltatory conduction - 'jumping' between nodes between schwann cells


2 types of synapse and features

  1. electrical synapse - physical gap linked by gap junctions, very fast
  2. chemical synapse - physical gap linked by a chemical transmitter, slower than electrical but still fast


neurotransmitter at nerve to muscle synapse



features of pre-synaptic neuron

  • Axon Terminal or Bouton
  • Contains vesicles
  • Contains cytoskeleton
  • Contains mitochondria
  • Must have voltage gated Ca2+ channels 


features of post-synaptic neuron

  • Must contain neurotransmitter receptors
  • These allow Na+ or Ca2+ entry to depolarise the post synaptic cell
  • Often appears as a thick post synaptic membrane called the post synaptic density PSD 


 process of synaptic transmission 

  1. Action potential propagates down the axon – to the pre-synaptic bouton
  2. Pre-synaptic bouton is depolarised – voltage gated Ca2+ channels open
  3. Ca2+ ions TRIGGER the release of the neurotransmitter from the vesicles
  4. Neurotransmitter is released INTO the synaptic cleft
  5. Neurotransmitter binds to its SPECIFIC receptors on the POST SYNAPSE
  6. Na+ channels open – LOCAL depolarisation of post synaptic cell
  7. Net depolarisation followed by repolarisation – called the EXCITATORY POST SYNAPTIC POTENTIAL – or EPSP


how is a synapse switched off?

if excess transmitter is released into the cleft, it must be removed by 

  1. degradation - enzymic
  2. reuptake into bouton
  3. reuptake into glia

removal requires ATP - mitochondria in bouton


Na+ concentration inside and outside neurons

12mM (inside) and 142mM (outside)


Types of Neurotransmitters 




Norepinephrine / Noradrenaline 


release of classic neurotransmitter

A classical neurotransmitter is released from vesicles from within the pre-synaptic bouton in response to Ca2+ influx 


effect of methamphetamine on neurotransmitter

  • Increases levels of noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin.  
  • Stimulates fight, flight, fright response
  • Stimulates reward centres, highly addictive 
  • Highly Neurotoxic 


excitatory neurotransmitters function and examples

  • cause depolarisation
  • cause EPSPs
  • Acetylcholine – at the nerve-muscle (somatic) and nerve-gland (autonomic) synapses, stimulus-gated Na+ channels 
  • Glutamate – at all excitatory synapses in the brain, stimulus-gated Na+ channels (and Ca2+ channels)


inhibitory neurotransmitters function and example

  • cause hyperpolarisation
  • cause IPSPs
  • GABA – gamma amino butyric acid 


diverging network description and functions

  • Information from eg a single sensory organ may DIVERGE  to  arrive at different brain regions
  • Provides opportunity to amplify signals as well as control points 


converging network description and function

  • Information from different brain regions may CONVERGE on a  Single Motorneurone that excites a single muscle group
  • Provides redundancy (in electronics) as well as control points 


time frame of AP


concentration of K+ inside and outside cells

150mM inside and 4mM outside