In its resting state, the membrane surrounding a neuron is permeable to potassium ions but not permeable to sodium ions. Thus, positive K ions can flow through the membrane in an attempt to equalize K concentration, but Na ions cannot. This leads to an excess of Na ions outside of the cell. If the space outside the cell is defined as zero electric potential, then the electric potential of the interior of the cell is negative. This resting potential is typically about -80 rm mV. A schematic of this situation is shown in the figure.
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