Action potential



the change in electrical potential that occurs between the inside and outside of a nerve or muscle fiber when it is stimulated, serving to transmit nerve signals.
noun
a localized change in electrical potential, from about –70 mV to +30 mV and back again, that occurs across a nerve fibre during transmission of a nerve impulse

action potential n.
The change in membrane potential occurring in nerve, muscle, or other excitable tissue when excitation occurs.
action potential
(āk’shən)
A momentary change in electrical potential on the surface of a neuron or muscle cell. Nerve impulses are action potentials. They either stimulate a change in polarity in another neuron or cause a muscle cell to contract.

The rapid change in electric potential that parts of a nerve cell undergo when a nerve impulse is generated. Unlike ordinary electric current, which consists of the flow of electrons, the action potential involves the movement of sodium and potassium ions across the cell membrane.

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