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Several techniques such as intracellular recording, patch-clamp, and voltage-clamp technique, pharmacology, confocal imaging, molecular biology, two photon laser scanning microscopy and Ca2 imaging have been used to study activity at the cellular level.

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Neurons are diverse with respect to morphology and function.

Thus, not all neurons correspond to the stereotypical motor neuron with dendrites and myelinated axons that conduct action potentials.

There are two families of receptors: ionotropic and metabotropic receptors.

Ionotropic receptors are a combination of a receptor and an ion channel.

The Hodgkin–Huxley model of an action potential in the squid giant axon has been the basis for much of the current understanding of the ionic bases of action potentials.

Briefly, the model states that the generation of an action potential is determined by two ions: Na and K .

In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity.

Since memories are postulated to be represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory (see Hebbian theory).

An action potential can be divided into several sequential phases: threshold, rising phase, falling phase, undershoot phase, and recovery.

Following several local graded depolarizations of the membrane potential, the threshold of excitation is reached, voltage-gated sodium channels are activated, which leads to an influx of Na ions.

As the rising phase reaches its peak, voltage-gated Na channels are inactivated whereas voltage-gated K channels are activated, resulting in a net outward movement of K ions, which repolarizes the membrane potential towards the resting membrane potential.