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Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain 4th Edition

Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain (4th Edition)

Book Edition4th Edition
Author(s)Bear, Connors
PublisherWolters Kluwer

Chapter 3, End of Chapter, Review Questions, Exercise 1

Page 79


A neuron at rest has a negative electrical charge at the inside of the cell membrane compared to the outside. The difference across the membrane in the electric charge is called the resting membrane potential. The resting membrane potential suggests that the neuron is not generating any nerve impulse.


During resting membrane potential, the inside of the cell is more negative than the outside. More sodium ions are present outside the cell, and more potassium ions and negatively charged proteins are present inside the cell. The sodium potassium pump plays an important role in the maintenance of the resting membrane potential. Influx of larger concentration of the sodium ions inside the cell results in the depolarization of the cell membrane. The voltage associated with the process of depolarization exceeds the threshold potential, resulting in the generation of nerve impulses and the transmission of the same across the neural membrane. 


There are various protein channels that span the phospholipid bilayer. The resting membrane potential is dependent on these protein channels as they facilitate as well as regulate the movement of ions across the cell membrane. 

Verified Answer

  • The protein channels provide a route for and control the movement of specific ions across the neural membrane.
  • These protein channels maintain the resting membrane potential by pumping the sodium and potassium ions against their concentration gradient across the neural membrane.
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