Electrochemistry of Nerve Excitation

  • Martin Blank
Part of the Modern Aspects of Electrochemistry book series (MAOE, volume 24)


Physiologists and biophysicists are, by and large, satisfied that the fundamental processes of nerve excitation are well understood. In brief, the explanation usually given is as follows: Cells contain solutions of ions, with K+ as the main cation. The extracellular solutions contain mainly Na+ salts. Since the cell membrane is more permeable to K+ than to Na+, the efflux of K+ establishes an electrical potential difference across the membrane, called the resting potential. In a squid axon the value is about 65 mV, with the inside surface negative with respect to the medium. The electrical potential opposes the chemical potential driving the efflux of K+ ions and establishes a steady state. The loss of K+ ions is replenished by the “pump” flux due to the action of the Na,KA-TPase of the membrane.


Sodium Channel Potassium Channel Electrical Double Layer Tobacco Mosaic Virus Alternate Current 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Blank
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Cellular BiophysicsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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