The Structure of the Plasma Membrane

Before we consider the mechanisms that allow cells to maintain the differences in ECF and ICF shown in Table 2-1, it will be helpful to look at the structure of the outer membrane of the cell, the plasma membrane. The control mechanisms responsible for the differences between ICF and ECF reside within the plasma membrane, which forms the barrier between the intracellular and extracellular compartments. It has long been known that the contents of a cell will leak out if the cell is damaged by...

Propagation of an Action Potential Along a Nerve Fiber

Distance Along Axon

We can now see how an action potential arises as a result of a depolarizing stimulus, such as the muscle stretch in the case of the sensory neuron in the patellar reflex. How does that action potential travel from the ending in the muscle along the long, thin sensory fiber to the spinal cord The answer to this question is inherent in the scheme for generation ofthe action potentialjust presented. As we've seen, the stimulus for an action potential is a depolarization of greater than about 10-20...

Actions ofAcetylcholine and Norepinephrine on Cardiac Muscle Cells

Each muscle fiber of a skeletal muscle receives a direct synaptic input from a particular motor neuron without this synaptic input, a skeletal fiber does not contract unless stimulated directly by artificial means. Nevertheless, we have seen that cardiac muscle fibers generate spontaneous contractions that are coordinated into a functional heartbeat by the electrical conduction mechanisms inherent in the heart itself. This does not mean, however, that the activity of the heart is not influenced...

The Cardiac Action Potential

Action Potential Cardiac Muscle

In Chapters 6 and 7, we discussed the ionic mechanisms underlying the action potential of nerve membrane. The action potential of skeletal muscle fibers is fundamentally the same as that of neurons. The cardiac action potential, however, is different from these other action potentials in several important ways. Figure 12-5 compares the characteristics of action potentials of skeletal and cardiac muscle cells. One striking difference is the difference in time-scale cardiac action potentials can...

Interaction between Myosin and Actin

Myosin Actin Interaction Cardiac Muscle

When actin combines with energized myosin, the stored energy in the myosin molecule is released. This causes the myosin molecule to return to its resting state, and the globular head pivots about its hinged attachment point to the thick filament. The pivoting motion requires that the thick and thin filaments move longitudinally with respect to each other. This mechanical analog is illustrated schematically in Figure 10-6. The exact nature of the chemical changes in a myosin molecule during the...

Factors Affecting the Speed of Action Potential Propagation

The speed with which an action potential moves down an axon varies considerably from one axon to another the range is from about 0.1 m sec to 100 m sec. What characteristics of an axon are important in the determining the action potential propagation velocity Examine Figure 6-9b again. Clearly, if the rate at which the depolarization falls off with distance is less, the region of axon brought above threshold by an action potential at point 1 will be larger. If the region above threshold is...