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Nervous System

LEB 01

01.05 Neurosimulator: Membrane time constant and low-pass filtering


What you can learn about
 Time constant of nerve membrane
 Intracellular potential
 Low-pass characteristic

Principle and tasks:


To use a nerve function model to
work on the following themes:
The time constant of the nerve
membrane and intracellular potential
The low-pass characteristic of the
nerve membrane

What you need:


Cobra3 Basic Unit

12150.00

Power supply, 12 V

12151.99

RS232 data cable

14602.00

Cobra3 Universal Recorder software

14504.61

Neurosimulator

65963.00

Neurosimulator, power supply

65963.93

Connecting cord, 500 mm, yellow

07361.02

PC, Windows 95 or higher

Result of a single stimulation

Neurosimulator: Membrane time constant


and low-pass filtering

P4010511

Result of a succession of stimulations

14 Laboratory Experiments, Biology

PHYWE Systeme GmbH & Co. KG D - 37070 Gttingen

LEB
01.05

Neurosimulator:
Membrane time constant and low-pass filtering
Related topics
Time constant of nerve membrane, intracellular potential,
low-pass characteristic
Principle and task
To use a nerve function model to work on the following
themes:
The time constant of the nerve membrane and intracellular potential
The low-pass characteristic of the nerve membrane
Equipment
Cobra3 Basic Unit
Power supply, 12 V
RS232 data cable
Cobra3 Universal Recorder software
Neurosimulator
Neurosimulator, power supply
Connecting cord, 500 mm, yellow
PC, Windows

12150.00
12151.99
14602.00
14504.61
65963.00
65963.93
07361.02

Set-up
Connect the instruments as shown in Fig. 1.

1
1
1
1
1
1
1

Power supply for the neuro-simulator: 9 V out to 9 V


in (three-pin cable)
Propagation of stimulus: Stimulus output 1 to stimulatory synapse (short white cable)
Intracellular potential: Output 1 to Analog in 1 (yellow
cable)
Stimulating signal: Stimulus output 1 to Analog in 2
(yellow cable), Earthing socket to Analog in 2 (long
white cable)
Procedure
Call up the COBRA3 MEASURE programme in Windows
Select the UNIVERSAL WRITER as measuring instrument
Use the rotary knob S of the neuro-simulator to adjust
the threshhold value to the smallest value (turn to the
left stop)
Set stimulation channel 1 of the power supply to maximum stimulation (turn to the right stop)
Set the measurement parameters (see Fig. 2) and go
to measurement with CONTINUE
Experiment 1:
Briefly tip the switch of stimulation channel 1; save the
result

Fig. 1: Experimental set-up

Phywe Series of publication Laboratory Experiments Biology PHYWE SYSTEME GMBH & Co. KG D-37070 Gttingen

40105

21

LEB
01.05

Neurosimulator:
Membrane time constant and low-pass filtering

Experiment 2:
Click on the red point and go to measurement with
CONTINUE
Tip the switch of stimulation channel 1 repeatedly and
at increasingly shorter intervals; save the result
Results and evaluation
Experiment 1: When the neuro-simulator is excited by
a rectangular pulse from a synapse, the intracellular
potential only increases slowly, and then falls off even
slower when the stimulation stops (Fig. 3). As a result
of this behaviour, rapid and brief stimulating signals
can only be weakly transmitted (low-pass characteristic of the membrane)
Experiment 2: When short rectangular impulses act at
relatively large intervals, the intracellular potential can
follow the stimulating pulse frequency (Fig. 4). The
low- pass characteristic of the membrane allows the
conversion of the low frequencies to a response.
When the stimulating frequency is higher, the intracellular potential reaches an almost constant value.
Individual rectangular stimulations then no longer
cause a separate response of the membrane.

Note
Many further experiments can be carried out in a similar way using 1, 2, 3 or 4 neurosimulators (see the
Operating Instructions).

Fig. 3: Result of a single stimulation

Fig. 2: Measurement parameters


Fig. 4: Result of a succession of stimulations

22

40105

Phywe Series of publication Laboratory Experiments Biology PHYWE SYSTEME GMBH & Co. KG D-37070 Gttingen