Origin of Electrical Membrane Potential part

This book is about the physiological characteristics of nerve and muscle cells. As we shall see, the ability of these cells to generate and conduct electricity is fundamental to their functioning. Thus, to understand the physiology of nerve and muscle, we must understand the basic physical and chemical principles underlying the electrical behavior of cells.

Because an understanding of how electrical voltages and currents arise in cells is central to our goals in this book, Part I is devoted to this task. The discussion begins with the differences in composition of the fluids inside and outside cells and culminates in a quantitative understanding of how ionic gradients across the cell membrane give rise to a transmembrane voltage. This quantitative description sets the stage for the specific descriptions of nerve and muscle cells in Parts II and III of the book and is central to understanding how the nervous system functions as a transmitter of electrical signals.

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