Ion channels and electrical activity
This chapter describes the main structural determinants regulating the function of some voltage-gated Na+, K+, and Ca++ channels and their fundamental role in cell excitability. Voltage-dependent Na+, K+, and Ca++ channels are generally closed at the resting membrane potential of nerve cells, which is approximately -60 to -70 mV. However, the transmembrane potential of neurons undergoes continuous changes that are caused by incoming stimuli. In particular, depolarizing inputs trigger the opening of voltage-gated channels, which allow the flow of electrical signals throughout the nervous system. By contrast, membrane repolarization closes these channels and terminates the propagation of the impulse.
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