If the average resting potential of a neuron is -70 mV, why is there such a high ratio of potassium ions inside relative to out?

My bio teacher was discussing the ratios of different ions inside versus outside the cell.

$$\text{OUT:IN}$$

$$\text{K}^+ (1:20)$$ $$\text{Cl}^- (11.5:1)$$ $$\text{Ca}^{2+} (10000:1)$$ $$\text{Na}^+ (10:1)$$

Can someone provide specific details as to the relative quantities of these different ions relative to each other? In other words, given these ion ratios, provide me with how much of each type of ion there are and show why this adds to to -70 mV. I just want to make sure I have a realistic picture of the concentrations.

I think I am mixing up concentration with the ratio between inside and out. Although for every potassium ion outside there are 20 inside, the charge from the total number of potassium ions must be less than that of chloride or it would not be negative inside, right?

• you need to add up all kinds of ions (K and Na mainly) Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 5:28