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ASSIGNMENT ON

ACTION POTENTIAL
Course name: Pharmacology II Course code: PHRM 306 Section 2 Semester: Fall 2012

SUBMITTED TO: Apurba Sarker Apu Senior Lecturer Department of Pharmacy East West University

SUBMITTED BY: Hasna Akter (ID: 2008-1-70-029) Zenifar Karim (ID: 2010-1-70-042) Samiya Khondaker Rinta (ID: 2010-3-70-048) Tasnim Tabassum (ID: 2010-1-70-010) Tahrima Mahboob Aniqa (ID: 2010-1-70-036)

Submission date: 6th December, 2012

Content

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Introduction Membrane potential (Em) and donnan equilibrium (Eion) All-or-none nature of the action potential Depolarization: First phase of action potential Repolarization: Second phase of action potential Hyperpolarization and resting state Conclusion

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Introduction The human body is made up of trillions of cells. Cells of the nervous system are called nerve cells or neurons. These are specialized cells that carry "messages" through an electrochemical process. The human brain has approximately 100 billion neurons.

Figure 1: Different parts of neurons

Neurons come in many different shapes and sizes. Neurons are similar to other cells in the body because they are surrounded by a cell membrane; have a nucleus that contains genes; contain cytoplasm, mitochondria and other organelles; and carry out basic cellular processes such as protein synthesis and energy production. However, unlike other cells in the body neurons have specialized cell parts called dendrites and axons. Dendrites bring electrical signals to the cell body and axons take information away from the cell body. They can communicate with each other through an electrochemical process and contain some specialized structures (for example, synapses) and chemicals (for example,

neurotransmitters). Neurons can also be classified by the direction that they send information.

Sensory (or afferent) neurons send information from sensory receptors (e.g., in skin, eyes, nose, tongue, ears) toward the central nervous system.

Motor (or efferent) neurons send information away from the central nervous system to muscles or glands.

Interneurons send information between sensory neurons and motor neurons. Most interneurons are located in the central nervous system.

The processing of signal occurs in the soma and then this signal is send through the axon to our brain. For example if someone touches a boys hand he feels it because the electrical signal that starts at that point move from the hand to the spinal cord and then up to his brain. This electrical signals move within a fraction of a second. The brain then interoperates the signal. This is known as action potential or nerve impulse. An action potential basically takes a signal from one place to another place whether it is from the stimulation point to the brain or from the brain to the stimulation point. Membrane potential (Em) and donnan equilibrium (Eion) The membrane potential (Em) is the charge across the membrane. The Em at which the movement of ions into the cell equals the movement of ions out of the cell is the donnan equilibrium. The symbol for this is Eion. So if, for example, the ion is sodium then the symbol for the donnam equilibrium for sodium will be ENa. The inside of a cell is negatively charged. So the positively charged sodium ion will move inside the cell as it becomes attracted to this negative charge. As more and more sodium moves inside the cell eventually the concentration of sodium ions (Na+) inside the cell will be higher than it is on the outside. This will cause the Na+ to move out due to the concentration gradient. Then at a certain membrane potential that is at a certain charge across the membrane, the movement of the Na+ into the cell and out of the cell will be equal. Now the donnam equilibrium for Na+ (ENa) is approximately +58 mV. So if Em is at +58mV then Na+ is relaxed. However when the Em of a resting neuron ranges between -50 and 80mV, it is no longer close to the equilibrium potential for sodium ion. So the Na+ becomes uncomfortable. The sodium ion wants to reach the resting potential; it wants to be at equilibrium. So this results in a driving force which causes the sodium ion to rush into the
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cell making the Em more positive which then moves closer to the equilibrium potential of sodium ion making the neuron more relaxed. So at donnam equilibrium the ions are comfortable and if Em is away from Eion the ion becomes uncomfortable and there will be driving force for the ion to move into the cell. All-or-none nature of the action potential Axon hillock is where the axon starts. It is the first place one can see the voltage gated ion channels and this is where the action potentials start. However for an action potential to start the stimulation needs to be enough to bring it to the threshold potential. When there is enough stimulation the voltage gated ion channels open and ions rush in and the action potential occurs.

Figure 2: Axon hillock If there is enough stimulation to reach the threshold it will cause an action potential and if there is not enough it will not cause an action potential. This is known as all-or-none nature of the action potential that is action potential is either going to happen or will not happen at all.

Figure 3: Showing movement of ions at different membrane potentials Depolarization: First phase of action potential Na+ are present outside the cell which want to get inside but cant because the voltage gated sodium channels are closed. Na+ want to get inside during the resting potential (-50 and 80mV inside the cell) because they get attracted to the negative charge inside the cell. Na+ wants to get inside the cell to make the membrane potential more positive which will be closer to the donnam equilibrium potential for sodium ions. When the Em reaches threshold that means the ions have enough charge to cause voltage gated sodium channels to open and the Na+ rush into the cell. This makes the Em more positive. This is depolarization. Repolarization: Second phase of action potential In the first phase of action potential the Na+ moved in and made the membrane potential very positive. Now inside the cell we have sodium and potassium ions. These potassium ions (K+)
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now want to move out. The positive membrane potential is enough to cause the voltage gated potassium channels to open. The K+ then moves out of cell since the equilibrium potential for potassium ion (EK) is negative so it wants the Em to be negative. As K+ rushes out of cell, the Em becomes more negative and this process is called repolarization. Hyperpolarization and resting state As potassium leaves the cell it is trying to reach its equilibrium which is somewhere around -93mV. However the resting membrane potential is somewhere approximately -70mV, so now Em is lower than the resting membrane potential. This is known as hyperpolarization. After reaching the -93mV, there is another process that is happening in the background and that is the function of the Na/K pump. This pump pumps three sodium ions out and two potassium ions into the cell. This then helps to bring the Em back to its resting membrane potential.

Figure 4: Stages of action potential

Conclusion So action potential is basically an electrical signal that goes from the stimulation point all the way to ones brain. The axons send signals to the brain and to different parts of the body. This is basically how the nervous system communicates with the different cells and the organs of the body.