2: Neuronal membrane at rest & action potential

In the second lecture we learned about the neuronal membrane at rest, and about the action potential. The theory behind these focused on the intra- and extracellular fluids, the ions in them as well as on the phospholipid membrane (bilayer) in between of the intra- and extracellular fluids. Again, some things were already familiar to us, but many new findings came along. 

One thing that was quite familiar to us was that the basic structure of the neuronal membrane: it is formed of two molecules thick sheet of phospholipids and therefore called as the phospholipid bilayer. However, after studying the structure of the membrane more deeply we learned many new, especially electrochemistry related facts, that helped us understand more deeply the resting membrane and action potential. 

We learned also what different functions proteins have in the neuron: they distinguish neurons from other types of cells. Enzymes, cytoskeleton and receptors are all made up of protein molecules. One especially interesting part in this chapter was how the equilibrium potentials are established by the ionic concentrations and electrical forces between ions. Also, one new thing we learned was the importance of the astrocytes regulating extracellular potassium concentration in the brain which is called potassium spatial buffering.

Alexandra & Alisa

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