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Neuronal Excitability 

Neuronal Excitability
Chapter:
Neuronal Excitability
Author(s):

Per Brodal

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190228958.003.0003
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date: 08 March 2021

Chapter 3 treats neuronal excitability and the conduction of electric impulses in axons. Neuronal excitability depends on a membrane potential that can be altered by neurotransmitters released at synapses. Selectively permeable ion channels and active pumping mechanisms create the membrane potential. Altering the membrane potential creates a current across the membrane. Opening ion channels that are selectively permeable to sodium ions can produce depolarization of the membrane followed by repolarization due to opening of potassium channels. This brief current is called an action potential. The action potential usually arises at the beginning of the axon near the neuronal cell body and propagates along the length of the axon. Arrival at the nerve terminal of an action potential leads to release of neurotransmitter. The action potential moves with much higher velocity in myelinated axons (surrounded by an insulating myelin sheath) than in unmyelinated axons.

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