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By Robert F. Schmidt (auth.), Robert F. Schmidt (eds.)

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The representation of the resting potential as a potassium equilibrium potential must be amended to take account of the fact that the chloride ions are also involved. The membranes are in fact also permeable for Cl- ions. In nerve cells the permeability to Cl- is less than to K+, but in muscle cells it is much greater than that to K+. The concentration ratio of chloride ions inside and outside the cell, Cl-jCl-a , is usually reciprocal to the corresponding concentration ratio K+jK+a (see Table 2-1).

2-14. Clamp currents following changes in potential. The top line shows the time course of a potential change in a giant axon of a squid starting from a resting potential of -60 mV to clamp potential E. Below that are the clamp currents that flow after the potential change to the potentialE, as shown to the right of the curves in each case. The calibration of the clamp current as given for the potential jump to +26 mV is also valid for the other clamp currents. Positive clamp currents correspond to an outflow of positive ions from the cell, and negative clamp currents correspond to an inflow of positive ions.

2-12) would vary by less than 111,000 during an action potential. The Na+ ions that flowed into the cell with the action potential are expelled again in the course of time by the Na+ pump. The active Na+ transport compensates for not only the resting sodium influx but also the Na+ influx during excitation. However, the active Na+ transport is of no importance for the individual action potentials. If the ion pump is blocked, for example, by poisoning with dinitrophenol (see page 30), then, despite the fact that active transport has been eliminated, thousands of action potentials can occur before the intracellular Na+ concentration becomes so high that the cell is rendered inexcitable.

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