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Electrical properties of cell

membrane I
(Diffusion & Equilibrium Potential)

OBJECTIVES
1. Define diffusion potential of an ion and simply
conclude how to calculate it
2. Discuss the concept of charge separation.
3. Explain the methods of calculation of equilibrium
potential when the membrane is permeable to
several ions.
4. Define Donnan equilibrium and discuss its
consequences
5. Apply this knowledge to a practical instance.

BASICS FACTS
Molecular Gradients

outside

(in mM)
Na+

142

inside

(in mM)
14

140

Mg2+

1-2

0.5

Ca2+

1-2

10-4

K+

H+
HCO3Cl-

(pH 7.4)
28
110

(pH 7.2)
10
5-15

SO42-

PO3-

75

40

protein

Lipid Bilayer

CO2
ions

glucose

N2

H2O
urea

O2

halothane

Diffusion

1. lipid-soluble molecules move readily across the membra


(rate depends on lipid solu
2.

H2O soluble molecules cross via channels or pores


(a)

(b)

Ion Channels
Characteristics:
1. Ungated
Determined by size, shape, distribution of charge, et
2.Gated voltage (e.g. voltage-dependent Na+ channels)
chemically (e.g. nicotinic ACh receptor channels.

in

Na and other ions


+

Na+

out

Ion concentrations

Outside of
Cell
K+
Na+

Cl-

Cell Membrane in resting state

K
+

Na

Cl

Inside of

A-

Cell Membrane is Semi-Permeable


K+

Na+

Cl-

Outside of Cell

Cell Membrane at rest

K
+
(K+) can pass
through to
equalize its
concentration

Na+

Cl-

Inside of Cell
Na+ and Clcannot pass
through

A-

- 55 to -100m
Result - inside
is negative
relative to
outside

In H2O, without a membrane

+
+

+
+

+
+
- -

Na+

+
+
+
+
-+ +
+
Cl

- +
-

+ +

Hydration Shells

hydrated Cl is smaller than hydrated Na+ therefo


faster:

Basic Concepts
Forces that determine ionic movement
Volt;- A charge difference between 2 points
in space
1. Electrostatic forces
1. Opposite charges attract
2. Identical charges repel
2. Concentration forces
1. Diffusion movement of ions through semipermeable
membrane
2. Osmosis movement of water from region of high
concentration to low

ELECTRONEUTRAL
DIFFUSSION
LOW SALT
CONC;

HIGH SALT
CONC;

+
+

+
+

+
-

+
-

+
-

BARRIER SEPARATES THE


TWO SOLUTIONS

ELECTRONEUTRAL DIFFUSSION
HIGH SALT
CONC;

+
-

+
-

LOW SALT
CONC;

+
-

+
-

BARRIER REMOVED

CHARGE SEPARATION = ELECTRICAL POTENT

Diffusion Potentials(DP)
is the potential difference generated across a membrane when a charged
solute (an ion) diffuses down its concentration gradient.
( caused by diffusion of ions.)
can be generated only if the membrane is permeable to that ion.
FEATURES;-1. if not permeable to the ion, no DP will be generated no matter
how large a conc; gradient is present.
2. magnitude/Unit =, measured in mV,
3. depends on the size of the concentration gradient, where the concentration
gradient is the driving force.
4. Sign of the DP depends on the charge of the diffusing ion.
5. DP are created by the movement of only a few ions, and they do not cause
changes in the concentration of ions in bulk solution.

EQUILIBRIUM POTENTIAL (EP)


EP(electrochemical equilibrium), is the DIFFUSION POTENTIAL that
exactly balances or opposes the tendency for diffusion down the
concentration difference. At the chemical and electrical driving
forces acting on an ion are equal and opposite,
FEATURES;1.Membrane
is polarized
1.
2.More ve particles in than out
3. Bioelectric Potential i.e,battery
1. Potential for ion movement
2. Current

At Electrochemical Equilibrium:
Equilibrium
4.Concentration gradient for
the ion is exactly balanced
by the electrical gradient
5.No net flux of the ion
6.No requirement for any
sort of energy-driven pump
to maintain the concentration
gradient

Electrical potential (EMF)

When will the


negatively
charged
molecules stop
entering the cell?

The Nernst potential (equilibrium potential) is the


theoretical intracellular electrical potential that would be
equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to the
concentration force.

- at which an ion will be in electrochemical equilibrium.


At this potential: total energy inside = total energy outside

[K ]
RT
E
log
ZF
[K ]

Equilibrium potential (mV) , Eion =

Electrical Energy Term: zFV


Chemical Energy Term: RT.ln[Ion]

EK = -90mV
ENa = +60mv

Z is the charge, 1 for Na+ and K+, 2 for Ca2+ and Mg2+, -1 for ClF is Faradays Constant = 9.648 x 104 Coulombs / mole
R is the Universal gas constant = 8.315 Joules / Kelvin * mole
T is the absolute temperature in Kelvin

CAPACITANCE
1. Cell membranes form an insulating barrier that acts
like a parallel plate capacitor (1 F /cm2)
2. Only a small number of ions must cross the membrane to
create a significant voltage difference

3. Bulk neutrality of internal and external solution


4. Cells need channels to regulate their volume
5. Permeable ions move toward electrochemical equilibrium
6. Eion =calculated as NERST POTENTIAL
7. Electrochemical equilibrium does not depend on permeability,
only on the concentration gradient

Electrical properties
The membrane potential

difference of -50
to +120mV

In the resting state, the intracellular space contains more negative


ions than the extracellular space

THE MEMBRANE
POTENTIAL
Extracellular
Fluid

K+
Na+
Potassium channel is
more open causing
potassium to be faster

M
E
M
B
R
A
N
E

Intracellular
Fluid

Sodium channel is
less open causing
sodium to be slower

MEMRANE POTENTIAL
(ABOUT 90 -120 mv)

2.

Cell membrane acts as a barrier--ICF from mixing with ECF


2 solutions have different concentrations of their ions. Furthermore, this difference in
concentrations leads to a difference in charge of the solutions..

3.

Therefore,+ve ions will tend to gravitate towards -ve solution. Likewise, -ve ions will
tend to gravitate towards +ve solution.

4.

Then the difference between the inside voltage and outside voltage is determined
membrane potential.

1.

When a membrane is permeable to several different ions, DP


developed depends on:
1.Polarity of the electrical charge of ions.
2. Permeability of the membrane (P) to each ion.
3. Concentration of each ion in two compartments separated by
the membrane.
MP is calculated by Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation.

Membrane Potential:
Goldman Equation

P [ K ] P [ Na ] P [Cl ]
RT
V
log
F
P [ K ] P [ Na ] P [Cl ]

Na

cl

Na

cl

NOTE:
P = permeability
1.
2.

3.

P = permeability
At rest: PK: PNa: PCl = 1.0 : 0.4 : 0.45
Net potential movement for all ions
Known Vm:Can predict direction of movement of any ion ~

EQUIVALENT ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT MODEL


RMP

Em = (EK * gK) + (ENa * gNa) + (ECl * gCl)


gNa + gK + gCl
1. With unequal distribution of ions and differential resting
conductances to those ions,
2. We can use the Nernst equation and Ohms law in an equivalent
circuit model to predict a stable resting membrane potential of
-75 mV, as is seen in many cells
NB, this is a steady state and not an equilibrium, since K+ and Na+
are not at their equilibrium potentials; there is a continuous flux of
those ions at the RMP

Chord Conductance Equation

1.Vm = EK+ +ENa+ + ECl-....


Vm = membrane potential, not equal to Eion;
2.Weighted avg of equilibrium potentials of all ions to which membrane is
permeable
3.Esp. K+, Na+, Cl-; changes in ECF K+ alters RMP in all cells

Vm

g
g

Na

E
Cl

g
g

Na

Na

E
Cl

Na

g
g

Cl

Na

E
Cl

Cl

Passive distribution
Donnan equilibrium
The ratio of positively charged permeable
ions equals the ratio of negatively charged
permeable ions
Start

Equilibrium

II
K+
Cl-

II
[K+] = [K+]
[Cl-] = [Cl-]

Mathematically expressed:

[ K ]I [Cl ]II

[ K ]II [Cl ]I
Another way of saying the number of positive
charges must equal the number of negative
charges on each side of the membrane

BUT, in real cells there are a large number of


negatively charged, impermeable molecules
(proteins, nucleic acids, other ions)
call them A-

1.

2.

Start

AK+
Cl-

Equilibrium

II

A[K+] > [K+]


[Cl-] < [Cl-]

II

Equilibrium

A- --[K+]----

[Cl-]

+ve = -ve

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

>

II
[K ]
+

[K+]I = [A-]I + [Cl-]I


[K+]II = [Cl-]II

< [Cl-]

+ve = -ve

space-charge neutrality

If [A-]I is large, [K+]I


must also be large
A=phosphate anions+
protiens
macromolecules

EXAMPLE
1.

The product of Diffusible Ions is the same on the


two sides of a membrane.
Initial

50 K+
50 Pr -

50 K+
50 Cl100 Osmoles

Step 2

100 Osmoles
67 K+
17 Cl50 Pr -

33 K
33 Cl66 Osmoles

Final

Ions
Move

134 Osmoles
+

33 K
33 Cl33 ml

Total Volume
100 ml

67 K+
17 Cl50 Pr 67 ml

H2 O
moves

Human Potentials
1.

Strong potentials in muscles--EMG, ECG (electromyogram


and electrocardiogram).

2.

Weaker potentials from brain--EEGs.

3.

Evoked potentials allow study of changes.

4.

Computer averaging allows study of deep brain potentials:


Event-related potentials in sensory systems and cognition.