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Honeymoon Havoc

Action Potentials and Venom Pathophysiology



Co Authors:

Kaitlin A. Pate
Kinesiology and Sports Management
Texas Tech University

Paul M. Acosta
Kinesiology and Sports Management
Texas Tech University

Melinda A. Payne
Biological Sciences
Texas Tech University

Breanna N. Harris
Biological Sciences
Texas Tech University
breanna.n.harris@ttu.edu

Abstract:

In this interrupted case study, students meet a pair of fictional newlyweds on their way to Australia for their honeymoon. Initially eager to enjoy the sun, sand, and sights, Tanya and Julien Brahim end up more intimately acquainted with the local wildlife than they had planned. Tanya is bitten by a venomous arachnid and Julien has a run-in with a dangerous cnidarian. This case study was created to help students solidify their knowledge about cardiac myocytes, particularly ion movements associated with action potential generation in autorhythmic and contractile cells. As students work through the case, they will complete fill-in-the-blank paragraphs describing the heart, diagram membrane potentials and ion movements, and compare and contrast action potentials from different cell types. Written for a course in human physiology, the case requires some prior knowledge of membrane potentials, equilibrium potentials, ion gradients, neuronal action potentials, and skeletal muscle action potentials. An optional pre-case assignment (included in the teaching notes) can be used to make sure that students are familiar with the necessary concepts.

Objectives:
  • Draw and explain the physiology of an action potential from a cardiac autorhythmic cell.
  • Draw and explain the physiology of an action potential from a cardiac contractile cell.
  • Compare and contrast the roles of sodium, potassium, and calcium in neuronal, skeletal muscle, and cardiac myocyte action potentials.
  • Describe the mechanism of action for atracotoxin and Chironex fleckeri (box jellyfish) venom.
  • Use critical thinking skills to hypothesize how atracotoxin would impact action potentials.
  • Use critical thinking skills to hypothesize how C. fleckeri venom would impact autorhythmic cell action potentials.
Keywords: Neurons; action potentials; cardiac; heart; atracotoxin; box jelly; sodium channel; venom; Australia; spider; jelly fish; cnidarian;
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Medicine (General)   Natural Hazards   Nursing   Physiology   Public Health   Science (General)  
Date Posted: 11/26/2018
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


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Answer Key


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Supplemental Materials


Access to the PowerPoint presentation listed below is restricted to instructors only and requires a paid subscription.

  venom.pptx (~640 KB)




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