Resting Potential

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Related to Resting Potential: action potential

resting potential

[′rest·iŋ pə‚ten·chəl]
The potential difference between the interior cytoplasm and the external aqueous medium of the living cell.

Potential, Resting


a potential difference between the contents of a cell or fiber and the extracellular fluid; the difference in potential is localized on the surface membrane. The membrane’s inner surface is charged electronegatively with respect to the outer surface.

Resting potential results from unequal concentrations of Na+, K+, and Cl- ions on both sides of the cell membrane and from the membrane’s unequal permeability to these ions. In nerve and muscle cells, resting potential helps keep the membrane’s molecular structure ready for excitation in response to stimulation. All influences on a cell causing a prolonged and stable decrease in action potential result in decreased cell excitability or in total loss of the cell’s capacity to generate action potential. Such influences include metabolic disturbance, increase in extracellular content of K+ ions, and the effect of a strong electric current.


References in periodicals archive ?
Cl] are nonzero, the resting potential will be less than that predicted by the Nernst potential for [K.
Resting potentials exist over the membranes of inactive cells and when a stimulus occurs, the cellular movement of charged ions generate action potentials, which send signals along nerve fibres.
Data were analyzed only from electrode impalements with resting potentials more hyperpolarized than --55 mV.
There seemed to be no significant differences in the resting potentials for the five response types.