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Resting Membrane Potential (RMP) is
the voltage (charge) difference across
the cell membrane when the cell is
at rest.
RMP is a product of the distribution of
charged particles (ions).
The resting membrane potential of cells
varies depending on the cell type, the
resting potential for neurons typically
sits between -50 and -75mV.
This value depends on the types of ion
channels that are open and the
concentrations of different ions in the
intracellular and extracellular fluids.
Neuronal Charged Membranes
The lipid bilayer membrane that
surrounds a neuron is impermeable to
charged molecules or ions.
To enter or exit the neuron,
ions must pass through special proteins
called ion channels that span the
membrane.
Ion channels have different
configurations: open, closed, and
inactive.
Fig 1: Voltage-gated ion channels open in response
to changes in membrane voltage. After activation,
they become inactivated for a brief period and will
no longer open in response to a signal.
Some ion channels need to be activated
in order to open and allow ions to pass
into or out of the cell.
These ion channels are sensitive to the
environment and can change their
shape accordingly.
Voltage-gated ion channels regulate
the relative concentrations of different
ions inside and outside the cell.
The difference in total charge between
the inside and outside of the cell is
called the membrane potential.
In neurons K+ and organic anions are
typically found at a higher
concentration within the cell than
outside, whereas Na+ and Cl- are
typically found in higher
concentrations outside the cell
This difference in concentrations
provide a concentration gradient for
ions to flow down when their channels
are open.
At rest, most neurons are permeable to
K+, Na+ and Cl-, as such they will all
readily flow down their concentration
gradients, with K+ moving out of the
cells and Na+ and Cl- moving in to the
cell.
Fig 3: K+, Na+ and Cl- Inside and outside of the cell
However the cell is most permeable to
K+, as such this exerts the greatest
influence on the resting membrane
potential and the value is closest to
the equilibrium potential of K+ (the
membrane potential at which the
concentration gradient for an ion is
balanced) out of the three ions.
These concentration gradients are
maintained by the action of
the Na+/K+ ATPase via active
transport, which in turn allows the
membrane potential to be maintained.
Fig 4: The ions
involved in setting
the resting
membrane
potential, as well as
the direction of the
ion concentration
gradients.
The resting membrane potential is a
result of different concentrations
inside and outside the cell.
The difference in the number of
positively charged potassium ions (K+)
inside and outside the cell dominates
the resting membrane potential
Figure 5: The (a) resting
membrane potential is
a result of different
concentrations of
Na+ and K+ ions inside
and outside the cell.
A nerve impulse causes
Na+ to enter the cell,
resulting in (b)
depolarization.
At the peak action
potential, K+ channels
open and the cell
becomes (c)
hyperpolarized.

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Resting membrane potential

  • 1.
  • 2. Resting Membrane Potential (RMP) is the voltage (charge) difference across the cell membrane when the cell is at rest. RMP is a product of the distribution of charged particles (ions).
  • 3. The resting membrane potential of cells varies depending on the cell type, the resting potential for neurons typically sits between -50 and -75mV. This value depends on the types of ion channels that are open and the concentrations of different ions in the intracellular and extracellular fluids.
  • 4. Neuronal Charged Membranes The lipid bilayer membrane that surrounds a neuron is impermeable to charged molecules or ions. To enter or exit the neuron, ions must pass through special proteins called ion channels that span the membrane. Ion channels have different configurations: open, closed, and inactive.
  • 5. Fig 1: Voltage-gated ion channels open in response to changes in membrane voltage. After activation, they become inactivated for a brief period and will no longer open in response to a signal.
  • 6. Some ion channels need to be activated in order to open and allow ions to pass into or out of the cell. These ion channels are sensitive to the environment and can change their shape accordingly.
  • 7. Voltage-gated ion channels regulate the relative concentrations of different ions inside and outside the cell. The difference in total charge between the inside and outside of the cell is called the membrane potential.
  • 8. In neurons K+ and organic anions are typically found at a higher concentration within the cell than outside, whereas Na+ and Cl- are typically found in higher concentrations outside the cell
  • 9. This difference in concentrations provide a concentration gradient for ions to flow down when their channels are open. At rest, most neurons are permeable to K+, Na+ and Cl-, as such they will all readily flow down their concentration gradients, with K+ moving out of the cells and Na+ and Cl- moving in to the cell.
  • 10. Fig 3: K+, Na+ and Cl- Inside and outside of the cell
  • 11. However the cell is most permeable to K+, as such this exerts the greatest influence on the resting membrane potential and the value is closest to the equilibrium potential of K+ (the membrane potential at which the concentration gradient for an ion is balanced) out of the three ions.
  • 12. These concentration gradients are maintained by the action of the Na+/K+ ATPase via active transport, which in turn allows the membrane potential to be maintained.
  • 13. Fig 4: The ions involved in setting the resting membrane potential, as well as the direction of the ion concentration gradients.
  • 14. The resting membrane potential is a result of different concentrations inside and outside the cell. The difference in the number of positively charged potassium ions (K+) inside and outside the cell dominates the resting membrane potential
  • 15. Figure 5: The (a) resting membrane potential is a result of different concentrations of Na+ and K+ ions inside and outside the cell. A nerve impulse causes Na+ to enter the cell, resulting in (b) depolarization. At the peak action potential, K+ channels open and the cell becomes (c) hyperpolarized.