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The Action Potential and the Nerve Impulse

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Nerve Cells and Nervous Systems


Many nerve cells communicate with one another by means of nerve impulses. The mechanism underlying the nerve impulse is the action potential. Action potentials, which are brief (usually of the order of milliseconds) changes in the membrane potential of a cell produced by the flow of ionic current across the membrane, are not limited to neurons but may also occur in other types of cells, such as striated, cardiac and some smooth muscle, gland cells, eggs and even plant cells. Generally, action potentials occur in cells whose membranes contain voltage-gated channels and which, in the terminology of Grundfest (1957) are said to be electrically excitable.

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© 2001 Springer-Verlag London

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Brown, A.G. (2001). The Action Potential and the Nerve Impulse. In: Nerve Cells and Nervous Systems. Springer, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-540-76090-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4471-0237-3

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

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