Where do most local potentials form in a neuron

16.2 How Neurons Communicate

where do most local potentials form in a neuron

Chapter 12 RMP and Local Potentials

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Retinal ganglion cells RGC have been described to react to light stimuli either by producing short bursts of spikes or by maintaining a longer, continuous train of action potentials. Fast, quickly decaying responses are considered to be transient in nature and encode information about movement and direction, while cell responses that show a slow, drawn-out response fall into the sustained category and are thought to be responsible for carrying information related to color and contrast. Multiple approaches have been introduced thus far to measure and determine response transiency. In this study, we adopted and slightly modified a method described by Zeck and Masland to characterize RGC response transiency values and compare them to those obtained by alternative methods. We show that this method is comparable to or more reliable than alternative approaches to describe the temporal characteristics of RGC light responses. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

The principles outlined above can be applied to the neuron and its ionic contents. Electroneutrality is maintained there by negatively charged impermeant proteins and phosphates. Osmotic balance is maintained between the extracellular fluid and the cytoplasm by movement of water through the plasma membrane when the total concentration of particles on one side is not equal to that on the other. These three characteristics of the neuron—semipermeability of the membrane, osmotic balance, and electroneutrality on each side—create an equilibrium electrical potential at which the inside of the membrane is more negative than the outside. When the inside of the plasma membrane has a negative charge compared to the outside, the neuron is said to be polarized. Any change in membrane potential tending to make the inside even more negative is called hyperpolarization , while any change tending to make it less negative is called depolarization. As stated above, the Nernst potential is the potential difference that exists across a membrane when a particular ion, having reached equilibrium between the tendency to diffuse down its concentration gradient and the tendency to be drawn back by other ions, is in a state of no net flux.

NCBI Bookshelf. Molecular Cell Biology. New York: W. Freeman; As noted earlier, synapses are the junctions where neurons pass signals to other neurons, muscle cells, or gland cells. Most nerve-to-nerve signaling and all known nerve-to-muscle and nerve-to-gland signaling rely on chemical synapses at which the presynaptic neuron releases a chemical neurotransmitter that acts on the postsynaptic target cell see Figure

All functions performed by the nervous system—from a simple motor reflex to more advanced functions like making a memory or a decision—require neurons to communicate with one another. While humans use words and body language to communicate, neurons use electrical and chemical signals.
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The electrical changes taking place within a neuron, as described in the previous section, are similar to a light switch being turned on. A stimulus starts the depolarization, but the action potential runs on its own once a threshold has been reached. These special types of potentials influence a neuron and determine whether an action potential will occur or not. Many of these transient signals originate at the synapse. Local changes in the membrane potential are called graded potentials and are usually associated with the dendrites of a neuron. The amount of change in the membrane potential is determined by the size of the stimulus that causes it. In the example of testing the temperature of the shower, slightly warm water would only initiate a small change in a thermoreceptor, whereas hot water would cause a large amount of change in the membrane potential.

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Graded potentials are changes in membrane potential that vary in size, as opposed to being all-or-none. They include diverse potentials such as receptor potentials , electrotonic potentials , subthreshold membrane potential oscillations , slow-wave potential , pacemaker potentials , and synaptic potentials , which scale with the magnitude of the stimulus. They arise from the summation of the individual actions of ligand-gated ion channel proteins, and decrease over time and space. They do not typically involve voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels. They occur at the postsynaptic dendrite in response to presynaptic neuron firing and release of neurotransmitter , or may occur in skeletal , smooth , or cardiac muscle in response to nerve input.

Graded potential


Action Potential vs Graded Potential





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