Investigating The Ionic Basis Of The Neuron 's Resting Membrane Potential ( Vm )

1740 Words Oct 30th, 2016 7 Pages
The purpose of this experiment is to investigate the ionic basis of the neuron’s resting membrane potential (Vm). We examine how this potential is affected by potassium ion [K+] concentration and permeability using Orconectes rusticus crayfish abdominal muscles, and we ask whether or not the Nernst Equation solely based on [K+] can also predict the cell’s resting membrane potential. We predicted that [K+] concentration had a significant influence on the membrane potential and thus the Nernst Equation was an accurate predictor of the observed Vm changes. Our results indicate that our hypothesis was incorrect- the results indicate that the Nernst equation calculations did not correspond with the observed resting membrane potentials. This outcome suggest that the Nernst derived equilibrium potential of [K+] is not a reliable predictor of the neuron’s resting membrane potential, and therefore other ions have significant influence over setting this potential. The GHK model, which accounts for multiple ions, may be a more accurate predictor of the resting membrane potential.
Neurons are unique signal, sending cells with special components specific to their roles in facilitating communication throughout an entire organism. They do this essential work by generating a constant exchange of ions across the cell membrane. The more we understand this process, the better we can investigate issues like brain-based disease and treatment. In order to understand exactly how this…

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