Reversal potential/Equilibrium potential Definitions! (should be easy for you guys)

Dag Stenberg dag.stenberg at
Tue Apr 29 03:49:09 EST 2003

M. Tam <mtam at> wrote:
> As I understand it, the the "reversal potential" usually refers to the
> electric potential at which there is no net ion flux through a particular
> trans-membrane ion channel. 
> "Dag Stenberg" <dag.stenberg at> wrote in message
>> When a membrane opens its sodium channels to let in sodium ions, its
>> potential starts to approach the equilibrium potential for sodium, which
>> is inside positive. As the membrane potential reverses to inside
>> positive, one talks about reversal potential.

M. Tam is right, of course. My definition was of overshoot potential,
which unfortunately is translated into "reversal potential" in Finnish,
the language in which I mainly teach. (The actual reversal potential has
no Finnish translation). Sorry for the mix-up.

Dag Stenberg

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