Biopotentials and ionic currents
Adelman, William J., Jr. Laboratory of Biophysics, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
- Resting potentials
- Voltage source
- Ionic channels
- Nerve impulse
- Single channels
- Channel proteins
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The voltage differences which exist between separated points in living cells, tissues, organelles, and organisms are called biopotentials. Related to these biopotentials are ionic charge transfers, or currents, that give rise to much of the electrical changes occurring in nerve, muscle, and other electrically active cells. Electrophysiology is the science concerned with uncovering the structures and functions of bioelectrical systems. This study involves a search for pertinent molecular entities directly involved with or related to biological potentials and currents. According to their function, these structures are given descriptive names such as channels, carriers, ionophores, gates, and pumps. Several of these operational entities have been identified with molecular structures whose precise chemical composition and configuration are known at the atomic level.
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