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SUPPORTING INFORMATION
- The Human Cell 101
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- Neurotransmitters
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Neurotransmitters of Special Mention

Neurotransmitters

Some neurotransmitters of special mention

 

GLUTAMATE

 

      Used at most fast excitatory synapses in the brain and spinal cord - and also at most synapses that are "modifiable", i.e. capable of increasing or decreasing in strength. (thought to be involved in the brain’s main memory-storage).

 

      Excessive GLUTAMATE in the synapse can lead to excitoxicity causing cell death - the reason why monosodium glutamate (MSG), so commonly added to foods today to fool the brain into thinking the food tastes better, can cause nerve damage.

 

MSG – And other forms of neurotoxic free glutamic acid

 

ACETYLCHOLINE

 

      Activates skeletal muscles - commonly secreted at neuromuscular joints (gaps connecting motor nerves to muscle cells) where it stimulates muscles to contract. Of interest, arrow tips poisoned with curare blocks transmission at these synapses, causing paralysis

 

      At other kinds of junctions, typically produces an inhibitory postsynaptic potential

 

      Contributes to the regulation of attention, arousal, and memory

 

      Ach receptors stimulated by nicotine; nerve gas attacks Ach system

 

EPINEPHRINE/ NOREPINEPHRINE

 

 

GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid)

 

      Usually an inhibitory transmitter between brain neurons

 

      Many sedative/tranquilizing drugs act by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain – GLYCINE is the inhibitory neurotransmitter in the spinal cord.

 

DOPAMINE

 

      Controls smooth, seamless, voluntary movement

 

      Controls reward system/pleasurable emotions

 

      Decreased levels associated with Parkinson's disease

 

      Over-activity in dopamine synapses associated with schizophrenia, cocaine, and amphetamines

 

SEROTONIN

 

      Involved in regulation of sleep/wakefulness, appetite, aggression/mood, temperature, behaviour, memory/learning

 

      Also functions to regulate muscle contraction, cardiovascular system and endocrine system

 

      ~90% produced/found in intestine, the rest in CNS neurons

 

      Low levels associated with depression – antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, target SEROTONIN levels;

 

      High levels associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

 

 

SUBSTANCE P

 

      Responsible for transmission of pain - from certain sensory neurons to the central nervous system (CNS).

 

 

ENDORPHINS

 

      Resemble opiate drugs in structure and effects

 

      Contribute to pain relief and to “feel good” emotions

 

 

Neurotransmitter Related Links

Neurotransmitter

Related Links

ABOUT

About Neurotransmitters

-  Nervous System 101

SPECIFIC

Neurotransmitter Chart

-  NITRIC OXIDE

-  MELATONIN

-  Some Neurotransmitters of Special Mention
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