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How do action potentials function in neuron communication?

Action potentials allow for the transmission of electrical signals along the axon of a neuron.

When a neuron receives a stimulus, such as a neurotransmitter binding to a receptor on its dendrites, the membrane potential of the neuron changes. If the change in membrane potential is large enough, it will trigger an action potential.

An action potential is a rapid depolarization and repolarization of the neuron's membrane potential. This is achieved through the opening and closing of ion channels in the membrane. When the membrane potential reaches a certain threshold, voltage-gated sodium channels open, allowing sodium ions to rush into the cell, causing depolarization.

Once the membrane potential reaches its peak, voltage-gated potassium channels open, allowing potassium ions to leave the cell, causing repolarization. This rapid change in membrane potential creates an electrical signal that travels down the axon of the neuron.

At the end of the axon, the electrical signal triggers the release of neurotransmitters into the synapse, allowing for communication with other neurons or target cells.

Overall, action potentials are crucial for the transmission of information within the nervous system, allowing for rapid and precise communication between neurons.

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