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Muscle Fiber Action Potential

Last updated on Monday, September 1 2014 by jdmiles

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Section 5: Muscle Fiber Action Potential

When the cell membrane of neurons or muscle fibers is depolarized enough, they propagate a nondecremental wave of electrical polarization called an action potential.  Neurons use these action potentials to quickly transmit information across distance.  Muscle fiber action potentials result in a mechanical contraction of the fiber, resulting in the production of force and motion.   

Neurons can use electrical potentials to send signals from one part of the neuron to another, but to communicate with other neurons (or muscle cells or other target cells), they usually use chemical signals.  These chemical signals are transmitted across specialized connections between cells called synapses


By the end of this section, make certain that you understand what each of these terms mean, and can apply them appropriately.  If applicable, make sure you can find each item on a whole brain, brain section, or image of a brain.

  • Actin
  • Myosin
  • Sarcomere
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum
  • Reuptake


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.