Apr 28, 2020

A Thermodynamic Interpretation of the Stimulated Raman Spectroscopic Signature to Action Potential in Single Neurons

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Shamit ShrivastavaJ.-X. Cheng


It has previously been suggested that the plasma membrane condenses and melts reversibly during an action potential in a neuron. If true it has fundamental consequences for our understanding of the regulation of biological functions during an action potential. It has long been known that the electrical dipoles in the neuronal membrane reorient during an action potential, observed through a variety of optical methods. However, this information has been insufficient to confirm if and how the collective thermodynamic state of the neuronal membrane changes during an action potential. Here, we show that hyperspectral stimulated Raman spectroscopy can resolve the thermodynamic state of the plasma membrane in a single neuron during an action potential. Based on these measurements we provide the first evidence that the neuronal membrane condenses during the de-polarisation phase, while the membrane melts during the polarisation and hyperpolarisation phase.

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