Unmyelinated and Myelinated Axons
Water-Cell Membrane Interactions
The phospholipids in a neuron cell membrane are amphipathic, meaning they have both polar and nonpolar parts.
The heads are polar (or charged) and the tails are nonpolar (or neutral).
- Surrounding the phospholipids are polar water molecules.
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- The phospholipid heads are hydrophilic (attracted to water molecules).
- In contrast, the phospholipid tails are hydrophobic (repelled by water molecules). The tails, instead, are attracted to each other.
- The combination of forces causes the phospholipids to form a bilayer, where the head regions face the surrounding water molecules and the opposing tails face each other.