You are on page 1of 32

DO NOW:

Get ready for Quick Quiz #1 the Neuron!

Clear off your desks and take out a pencil.

You will have 5 minutes to complete the quiz

When you are done, turn your quiz over so I


know that you are finished.

HOW DO NEURONS COMMUNICATE?

How do neurons send signals along their axons?


How do they send signals to each other?

How do scientists even study this stuff?

THE

GIANT

SQUID!

STUDENTS WILL

Describe how neurons transmit signals

THE GIANT SQUID


You have millions of neurons in your brain
and they are tiny!
Scientist use the giant squid to study
neurons

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2s3C
kQE0

The giant squid


has giant axons

Like thin spaghetti


About 1mm in diameter

DID YOU KNOW.

Bundles of axons are called


nerves
The size of a human axons is
about 1 nanometer in
diameter
Thats one billionth of a
meter (hence the squid!)
Our longest nerve is the
sciatic nerve- it runs from
the base of our spine to our
big toe!

There are 2 steps to neuronal communication.


1. Action Potentials
2. Synaptic Transmission

A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFO

What does the word potential mean?

Recall: An ion is a charged atom

Two important ions in neurons:


Sodium,

Na+
Potassium, K+

ELECTROCHEMICAL POTENTIAL

Axons have an electrochemical potential


Basically, the difference in ion
concentration between the
outside and the inside of the cell
At rest, neurons have
potential = built up energy!

A neuron at rest, has more Na+ outside the axon


than inside
Where do these Na+ want to go?
It also have many more K+ inside the axon than
outside
Where do these K+ want to go?

RESTING POTENTIAL
But remember that cells
are a little more complicated
than that
Inside cell (intracellular)
high conc. of potassium some sodium
Anions proteins, amino acids, sulfate, phosphate,
other negatively charged ions like Cl- (low conc. for
Cl-)
Outside cell (extracellular)
reversed - low conc. of potassium high sodium
Cl- main anion with other ions present

When we measure the relative


concentration of ions, we find that the
inside is negatively charged compared to
outside the neuron.
There are many more
positive sodium ions
outside the cell
Not very many
positive potassium
ions inside the cell

*The resting potential


is -70mV.

HOW DOES THIS MAKE A SIGNAL?


Action potentials.
Voltage difference across a nerve cell membrane when
the nerve is excited.

The signal is passed along


and is called an action potential
It is the REVERSAL of the ion
concentrations.

Na+

wants IN
K+ wants OUT

When a nerve is at rest (between the times it


sends a message) we call this its resting
potential. This potential is -70mV.

The reversal is its depolarization. This potential


is usually around +40mV. This is when exciting
things happen!
DEPOLARIZATION:

Diffusion

of Na+ ions into the neuron resulting in a


charge reversal

HOW DO THE IONS MOVE IN AND OUT?


The ions flow through
specialized channels
that control their
movement into and
out of the cell
This is how the
concentration
gradient was created
in the first place

DEPOLARIZATION
1.

2.

The Na+ channels


open, allowing the cell
to become positive as
Na+ enters the cell.
The Na+ channels
close.

http://www.youtube.com
/watch?v=pbg5E9GCNV
E

SO
The nice little neuron is just sitting there,
minding her own business when....
WHAM!

A message is sent and everything goes upside


down
- REPOLARIZATION to the rescue!

REPOLARIZATION
Order must be restored (this isnt the only signal
this neuron is going to send!)
1. K+ channels open and pump potassium back
into the cell
2. Eventually the cell potential comes back to 70mV and the channels close.
** These channels are a bit slow. They wait until the
potential is AT -70mV before closing, resulting in a
slight HYPERPOLARIZATION (-80mV)

Draw the axon showing


resting potential and as
depolarization

SODIUM-POTASSIUM PUMP

Almost back to where we started, but we are slightly


hyperpolarized.
We also have a lot of extra ions and theyre not where
they are supposed to be.
Sodium-Potassium Pump transfers sodium and
potassium back to equilibrium.

For every 3 sodium out of the cell, 2 potassium come


in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ-wQsEK21E

ACTION POTENTIALS

Lets review the steps:

STUDYING ACTION POTENTIALS

We can look at action potentials:


Through

the movement of ions through channels


Through the electrical potential on a voltmeter

WITH A VOLTMETER:

PRACTICE:

Explain the diagram to your partner

ALL-OR-NONE RESPONSE

A nerve or muscle fibre responds completely or


not at all to a stimulus
So

when we talk about action potentials, neurons


either fire maximally or not at all

NERVE IMPULSES
Nerve impulses must be as strong at the
end as they were at the beginning
They are slower than electricity on a wire,
but as high as 100 metres per second
Its the movement of positively charged
ions across cell membrane that causes an
impulse (ie. the Action Potential)

How to do the wave

WHERE DO APS OCCUR?

When axons are myelinated, signals travel faster


Channels are concentrated at the Nodes of Ranvier

This is called saltatory conduction


Fewer channels need to open, less depolarization to correct
Action potentials get to jump from node to node
Results in rapid transmission of nerve impulses

SUMMARY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifD1YG07fB
8
This one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EyhsOewn
H4

IMPORTANT TERMS
Electrical Potential
Resting Potential
Action Potential

Polarized
Depolarization
Repolarization
Hyperpolarization

And so our happy little neuron was part of a


neural network and lived happily ever after.

Take out your Chapter Questions!