Week 2. Neuronal structures and action potential.
The last lecture from the course was about neuronal membrane and the action potential. Even if the topic is not completely new for both of us it was really interesting to listen to the lecture and new insights about the topic came to our mind. However, even if the topic is not novel, it is worth mentioning that the material from the book presented in chapters 3 and 4 was quite difficult to learn and remember and the process was time demanding. We were deeply focused on reading the material in order to create new neuronal networks in our brain, which helped us to understand the material properly and remember it, hopefully for a long time.
Reading the book and listening to the lecture helped to understand and remember a neuron’s structure and more detailed information about the neuronal phospholipid bilayer membrane. Through the membrane ions can move rather freely by means of passive diffusion. The neuronal membrane also has active pumps: sodium-potassium and calcium ones. Sodium-potassium pump is a special protein, which pumps potassium ions into the cell, while simultaneously pumping sodium ions out of it; in this case, the movement of both ions occurs against the gradients of their concentrations. Calcium pump provides active removal of 2 ions calcium from the cytosol of the cell membrane. The proteins in the membrane seem to be amazing communicators about the balance of ions inside and outside the cell.
Concerning glial cells it would be interesting to deepen knowledge about first of all their very important role in the functioning of the whole brain, and second: their role after a brain event, for example a lesion in the brain. You would think that in order to understand these kinds of disruptions better, and the recovery of the brain after these events, we must know the processes related to the glia as well since the neurons and their connections are so highly dependant on them.
It was really interesting and exciting to see a discussion between both students and lecturers. One of the most interesting and fascinating topics was about neuronal activation, whether the signal could also propagate toward the soma of the neuron when stimulated on the axon. We are looking forward to the next lecture from Matias Palva to continue this topic a bit and deepen our understanding of synaptic transmission.