DOI: 10.14704/nq.2019.17.3.1994

A Theoretical Study to Explain the Referred Pain Phenomenon and Its Characteristics via Quantum Tunneling of Potassium Ions Through the Channels of Neuronal Membrane

Abdullah Barjas Qaswal


When action potentials occur in neurons, sodium ions diffuse to inside neuronal membrane during depolarization whereas potassium ions diffuse to the outside during repolarization, in which an increase in extracellular potassium concentration occurs each and every single time a neuron fires.This escalation in potassium concentration will surround neighboring neurons.Hence, I calculated that minute increase in potassium concentration.These potassium ions will hit the closed channels in the membrane of neighboring unstimulated neurons, however, they will not be able to pass since their kinetic energy is less than the energy needed to open the closed channels.Given these points, I calculated the probability of potassium ions to tunnel through closed channels.Moreover, I calculated the membrane conductance made by the potassium tunneling and the threshold of potassium conductance needed to stimulate neighboring neurons, only to find that the actual conductance was less than the theorized threshold.For that reason, I calculated the potassium ions' probability to reach the proposed threshold,while also using Bernoulli trials equation to calculate the probability of action potential induction.Accordingly, I used the potassium tunneling model to explain the referred pain phenomenon and its characteristics,moreover, filling the gaps in referred pain theories which could not explain all of its characteristics.


quantum tunneling, referred pain, unmyelinated C-fiber, visceral pain, potassium channel

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This work did not receive any funding or support.

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