action-potential

Cultural Dictionary

action potential definition


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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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