, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 257–270 | Cite as

Nerve membrane electrical characteristics near the resting state

  • F. Conti


An experimental analysis of the squid axon membrane impedance in the vicinity of the resting state and as a function of frequency is presented. Particular attention was devoted to the measurement of theresonance frequency, for which the absolute magnitude of the impedance attains its maximum value, in different, extracellular solutions, at various temperatures and in the presence of constant depolarizations or hyperpolarizations.

The variations in the concentration of sodium, potassium and divalent ions and the addition of tetrodotoxin, changed markedly the maximum impedance but had little effect, at a fixed temperature, on the resonance frequency, whose temperature dependance is described by aQ10 variable from 3.7 (around 4 °C) to 1.9 (around 15 °C). Substitution of heavy water decreased the resonance frequency by a factor 1.25, fairly independent of temperature. Steady depolarizations or hyperpolarizations produced large variations of the resonance frequency, with strong temperature dependance.

The results indicate that the resonance frequency is directly related to the membrane permeability changes which take place quite independently of the composition of the extra cellular solution and are governed by the electric field existing within the membrane structure rather than by the total membrane potential, to which membrane-solution boundary potentials can give a large contribution.


Resonance Frequency Heavy Water Tetrodotoxin Extracellular Solution Strong Temperature Dependance 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Conti
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio di Cibernetic e Biofisica del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-CamogliGenovaItaly

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