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The Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz voltage equation, more commonly known as the Goldman equation, is used in cell membrane physiology to determine the reversal potential across a cell's membrane, taking into account all of the ions that are permeant through that membrane.
is approximately 26.7 mV at human body temperature (37 °C); when factoring in the change-of-base formula between the natural logarithm, ln, and logarithm with base 10 , it becomes , a value often used in neuroscience.
The ionic charge determines the sign of the membrane potential contribution. During an action potential, although the membrane potential changes about 100mV, the concentrations of ions inside and outside the cell do not change significantly. They are always very close to their respective concentrations when the membrane is at their resting potential.
Calculating the first term
Using , , (assuming body temperature) and the fact that one volt is equal to one joule of energy per coulomb of charge, the equation
Goldman's equation seeks to determine the voltageEm across a membrane. A Cartesian coordinate system is used to describe the system, with the z direction being perpendicular to the membrane. Assuming that the system is symmetrical in the x and y directions (around and along the axon, respectively), only the z direction need be considered; thus, the voltage Em is the integral of the z component of the electric field across the membrane.
According to Goldman's model, only two factors influence the motion of ions across a permeable membrane: the average electric field and the difference in ionic concentration from one side of the membrane to the other. The electric field is assumed to be constant across the membrane, so that it can be set equal to Em/L, where L is the thickness of the membrane. For a given ion denoted A with valence nA, its fluxjA--in other words, the number of ions crossing per time and per area of the membrane--is given by the formula
Current density has units of (Amperes/m2). Molar flux has units of (mol/(s m2)). Thus, to get current density from molar flux one needs to multiply by Faraday's constant F (Coulombs/mol). F will then cancel from the equation below. Since the valence has already been accounted for above, the charge qA of each ion in the equation above, therefore, should be interpreted as +1 or -1 depending on the polarity of the ion.
There is such a current associated with every type of ion that can cross the membrane; this is because each type of ion would require a distinct membrane potential to balance diffusion, but there can only be one membrane potential. By assumption, at the Goldman voltage Em, the total current density is zero
(Although the current for each ion type considered here is nonzero, there are other pumps in the membrane, e.g. Na+/K+-ATPase, not considered here which serve to balance each individual ion's current, so that the ion concentrations on either side of the membrane do not change over time in equilibrium.) If all the ions are monovalent--that is, if all the nA equal either +1 or -1--this equation can be written
whose solution is the Goldman equation
If divalent ions such as calcium are considered, terms such as e2? appear, which is the square of e?; in this case, the formula for the Goldman equation can be solved using the quadratic formula.