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Flashcards in Nerves Deck (28):

What are the three divisions of the brainstem?

Medulla oblongata


What is the function of the hypothalamus?

Integrates nervous and hormonal systems


What is the difference between afferent and efferent neurons?

Afferent neurons are sensory. They detect changes in the environment. They travel from peripheral to central nervous system.
Efferent neurons are motor. They send a signal based on changes in the environment. They travel from central to peripheral nervous system.


Name the three main types of neuron.

Afferent, efferent and interneuron


What are the three main types of glia?

Microglia, astroglia, oligodendrocytes


What is the general value taken for the resting membrane potential of neurons?



How is the resting membrane potential of a neuron maintained?

The membrane is impermeable to ions.
Protein pump is used to pump potassium ions into and sodium ions out of the cell, on a 1:1 ratio
Ion channel which is potassium permeable, allows potassium to diffuse out of the cell, down the concentration gradient until the electric gradient inhibits further removal of potassium.
This allows the inside of the cell to be negative with respect to the outside.


What is meant by depolarisation of a membrane?

Increase in membrane potential so that it becomes less negative, and so less polar.


What is meant by overshoot of the membrane potential?

Increase in membrane potential to the point where the inside becomes positive with respect to the outside.


What is meant by repolarisation of a membrane?

Return to the resting membrane potential of -70meV.


What is meant by hyperpolarisation of a membrane?

The decrease in membrane potential beyond the resting membrane potential of -70meV.


Give four examples of graded potentials.

1. Post synaptic potential
2. Endplate potential in the neuromuscular junction
3. Generator potentials at sensory receptors
4. Pacemaker potentials


What is the role of graded potentials?

To determine when action potentials fire


Why are graded potentials called 'graded'?

The intensity of stimulus is reflected in the amplitude of potential difference produced
I.e. not all or nothing.


Why are graded potentials said to be decremental?

Amplitude of potential decreases with increasing distance from point of initial depolarisation, due to leakage of voltage.
Therefore they are unsuitable for long distance transmissions.


What are the main differences between action potentials and graded potentials?

-Graded potentials are ligand gated, action potentials are voltage gated
-Graded potentials are graded. Action potentials are 'all or nothing'
-Graded potentials can be hyperpolarising (IPSP) or depolarising (EPSP). Action potentials are always depolarising.


Describe the changes which occur to ion channels in the membrane of a cell with an action potential forming.

- Normally, only potassium ion channels are open, allowing potassium ions to diffuse out of the cell, maintaining the RMP of -70meV.
-Once a graded potential reaches threshold (-55meV), voltage dependant sodium channels open in the membrane.
-This allows sodium ions to flood it, making the cell more positive.
-This operates by a positive feedback mechanism, where the entry of sodium ions stimulates the opening of further sodium channels, allowing the entry of more sodium ions
-After a short time, voltage dependant potassium channels open and potassium diffuses out of cell, repolarising and the hyperpolarising it.


By what two mechanisms can conduction velocity of an action potential be increased?

-Increasing diameter of axon, to decrease axial resistance
-Insulation of axon with myelin sheath


From what cell type is a myelin sheath composed of?

Schwann cells in central nervous system
Oligodendrocytes in peripheral nervous system


What is meant by a refractory period?

This is a period immediately after the firing of an action potential, during which a nerve is unresponsive to further stimulation.


What is salutatory conduction?

This is the conduction of an action potential rapidly between one node of ranvier to the next due to the presence of a myelin sheath around the neuron.


What is meant by synaptic delay?

This is the slight delay which occurs as the neurotransmitter diffuses across the synapse at a rate of 1m per second.


Describe how the end-plate potential is formed in a muscle cell.

-Action potential arrives in motor neuron
-Stimulates the opening of voltage gated Ca2+ channels on the presynaptic membrane.
-Calcium ions diffuse into the cell, promoting vesicles containing neurotransmitter Acetylcholine to move forward and fuse with the presynaptic membrane.
-Acetylcholine released into the synaptic cleft.
-Diffuses across cleft and binds to receptors on the post-synaptic membrane (sarcolemma)
- Generate the opening of ligand gated ion channels on the sarcolemma.
-Ions diffuse into the cell and graded membrane potential forms.
-If graded membrane potential reaches threshold, action potential fires.


How does tetrodotoxin affect NMJ activity?

Blocks sodium channels and so prevents formation of action potential in muscle cell.


How does joro spider toxin affect NMJ activity?

Blocks Ca2+ channels and so prevents neurotransmitter release


How does botulinum toxin affect NMJ activity?

Blocks neurotransmitter release


How does curare affect NMJ activity?

Blocks Ach receptors and so inhibits end-plate potential formation


How does acetylcholinesterse affect NMJ activity?

Blocks breakdown of Ach and so increases transmission at NMJ.