Ion Channels in Excitable Membranes

  • J. P. Ruppersberg


Excitability. Excitability of cell membranes is crucial for signaling in many types of cell. Excitation in the physiological sense means that the cell membrane potential undergoes characteristic changes which, in most cases, go in the depolarizing direction. Single depolarization from the resting potential to potentials near 0 mV has generally been called an action potential. A schematic representation of a neuronal action potential is given in Fig. 12.1 A. The action potential is triggered when the membrane potential, which was at the resting level, depolarizes and reaches the threshold of excitation. This depolarization, which triggers the action potential, is generated by depolarizing synaptic currents, or depolarizing current coming from a membrane region that is already excited (propagation of an action potential), or by pacemaker currents mediated by pacemaker channels, or by current injected externally by an electrode. The duration of different types of action potential varies from seconds to less than 1 ms.


NMDA Receptor Receptor Channel Glutamate Receptor Subunit NMDA Receptor Channel Channel Sequence 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Ruppersberg

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