Sodium-Potassium Pump

The sodium-potassium pump is an enzyme complex that exchanges sodium and potassium ions across the membrane of the neuron.  The sodium-potassium pump uses ATP to send 3 sodium ions out of the cell in exchange for taking in 2 potassium ions. Without the pump, the gradient would eventually come to equilibrium since some sodium and potassium will naturally diffuse across the membrane. The sodium-potassium pump runs constantly in order to maintain the resting potential of the neuron. The pump also helps reestablish the resting potential following hyperpolarization.


(“Scheme sodium-potassium pump”)

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