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Cells are Batteries

Last updated on Wednesday, September 3 2014 by jdmiles

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Section 1: Cells are Batteries

Cells are Batteries.  They generate an electrical potential (voltage) across the cell membrane.  For most cells, this is analogous to the DC current generated by a battery.

 

 

The video above shows how the voltage across the membrane of a cell can be measured, using a fish egg as a substitue for a cell.  There is a separation of charge across the membrane of the cell, and when the circuit is completed (by putting the whole setup into water, for example), a voltage can be measured as a deflection on the oscilloscope.

So that's what we mean when we say cells are batteries:  they can produce a measurable electrical voltage.

We call this voltage the membrane potential

In the second section of this chapter, we explore the origin of the cell membrane potential.  

 

 

Section 1:  Cells are Batteries

Section 2:  Why Are Cells Batteries?

Section 3:  Meat Wires

Section 4:  The Neuron Action Potential

Section 5:  Muscle Fiber Action Potential

Section 6:  Synapses and the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ) 

 

If you have any questions regarding this section, please ask them in the Neuroanatomy User Forum, or in the comments section at the bottom of this page. 


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