A short-lasting event in neurons, muscle and endocrine cells, where electrical membrane potential of a cell rapidly rises and falls (depolarize or hyperpolarize) as a result of complex interplay between ion pumps and ion channels. Action potential activates numerous intracellular processes and plays a central role in cell-to-cell communication.

ACTION POTENTIAL: "Action potentials are generated by special types of voltage-gated ion channels in the cell membrane."

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