3.0 Nerve cell physiology Listen

This section will cover nerve cell function, specifically how and why nerve cells generate impulses, how they transmit these and how they transfer them to the next neurone via a structure called the synapse.

An understanding of this process is essential to an appreciation of how the nervous system works and how certain drugs work.

Learning Outcomes
After studying “nerve cell physiology” you will be able to:

  • explain the terms membrane potential, action potential, depolarisation and repolarisation
  • describe the ions involved in transmitting nerve impulses
  • explain what happens at the synapse
  • give examples of neurotransmitter substances