The action potential in mammalian central neurons

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Jun;8(6):451-65. doi: 10.1038/nrn2148.


The action potential of the squid giant axon is formed by just two voltage-dependent conductances in the cell membrane, yet mammalian central neurons typically express more than a dozen different types of voltage-dependent ion channels. This rich repertoire of channels allows neurons to encode information by generating action potentials with a wide range of shapes, frequencies and patterns. Recent work offers an increasingly detailed understanding of how the expression of particular channel types underlies the remarkably diverse firing behaviour of various types of neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Sodium Channels / physiology


  • Calcium Channels
  • Ion Channels
  • Potassium Channels
  • Sodium Channels