Which ions are primarily responsible for repolarization of a neuron following an action potential?
a) K+ out of the neuron
b) K+ in to the neuron
c) Na+ out of the neuron
d) Na+ in to the neuron
An action potential and accompanying depolarization results from Na+ ions rushing down their concentration gradient in to the cell. The repolarization is caused predominantly by a rush of K+ ions down their concentration gradient out of the cell.
a) K+ out of the neuron, correct.
b) K+ in to the neuron, incorrect, This would require K+ ions to flow contrary to their concentration gradient.
c) Na+ out of the neuron, incorrect, The Na+/K+ ATPase pumps Na+ out of the neuron, Na+ will not spontaneously flow out of the neuron.
d) Na+ in to the neuron, incorrect, Na+ in to the neuron accompanies depolarization, not repolarization.