Human Neurons And Its Effects On The Membrane Essay example

Human Neurons And Its Effects On The Membrane Essay example

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Introduction: Typical human neurons have a resting membrane potential (Vm) of -65 mV due to the membrane’s high permeability for potassium (EK = -80 mV) and relative impermeability to sodium (ENa = +62 mV) as well as other background ions.1 When a change in sodium permeability occurs, sodium rushes into the cell and causes depolarization, a change from a negative Vm to one less negative.1 This could generate an action potential leading to neurotransmitter release, capable of signaling and coordinating motor responses. If developing neurons differ in membrane potential through the course of differentiation, subjection of embryos to certain increases in sodium influx that would not usually be powerful enough to reach threshold could cause an action potential to take place. Firing of unneeded action potentials could lead to hyper-excitability, the underlying mechanism behind some forms of epilepsy.2 Epileptic seizures have been found to be more prominent as a result of premature birth.3 The project will establish finite resting membrane potentials for each stage of neural development, beginning with neural differentiation and ending at birth. The results may then be used to implement new strategies to prevent or treat epilepsy in newborns.
Hypothesis: An increase in epilepsy resulting from premature birth indicates a less negative membrane potential at that developmental stage. Also, as channel proteins are synthesized and translocated to the axonal membrane over time, they may help establish a less negative Vm in later stages of development. Therefore, a less negative resting membrane potential is expected immediately following differentiation, and a gradual increase in charge across the membrane is expected to accumulate as the neu...

... middle of paper ...

...findings will be published and shared with the scientific community through the university.
Broader Impact: The experiment will attempt to add to the pool of knowledge regarding neurogenesis and physiological changes during the differentiation of neurons. It will also attempt to provide reasoning behind epilepsy in newborns, especially those born prematurely. According to the CDC, approximately one out of every 10 births in the United States occurs prematurely.8 This implies that an enormous amount of children every year are at high risk of suffering from epilepsy involving difficulty breathing and the possibility of loss of consciousness.8 If results are as expected, they could be used by hospitals and research institutions to implement strategies to prevent and treat epilepsy, decreasing suffering in newborns and reducing financial stress involved in treatment.

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