Refractory period

  • Absolute refractory period:
    • No stimulus, regardless of its strength, will excite the nerve.
    • It spans from the time the firing level is reached until repolarization is approximately one-third complete.
    • Basis: Closure of the Inactivation Gates of the Na+ channel in response to depolarization.
  • Relative refractory period:
    • Stronger than normal stimuli can evoke excitation.
    • It starts at the end of the Absolute refractory period and extends to the onset of after-depolarization.
    • During this period, channels are reset and can open in response to a stronger stimulus, although they remain open.
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