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Information about Neurotransmitters

Published on March 6, 2014

Author: livlivolive14



A brief presentation on neurotransmitters and how they work.

Neurotransmitters A&PI

Intro • • • Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers Neurotransmitters are essential to life, and need to be balanced. Can be affected by stress, poor diet, drugs, and genetic predisposition.

How They Work • Packaged into synaptic vesicles and then released from the axon terminal. • • • Synapses: Sites of communication. Synaptic cleft: the space between two neurons, presynaptic & postsynaptic. Action potential is the catalyst for the release of neurotransmitters.

Types of Neurotransmitters • • • • • More than 100 different kinds of neurotransmitters. 3 categories: amino acids, peptides, and monamine. Excitatory neurotransmitters: those which create an excitatory postsynaptic potential & fire more action potentials. Inhibitory neurotransmitters: those which create an inhibitory postsynaptic potential. Oversimplification: many neurotransmitters have both receptors.

Excitatory and Inhibitory Synaptic Potentials (1:09)

Drug Effects & Neurotransmitters • • Agonistic Drugs: enhance neurotransmitter. Antagonistic Drugs: block/inhibit neurotransmitter.

Acetylcholine • • • • First identified neurotransmitter, discovered in 1920 by Otto Loewi. Most widespread and most studied. Muscle movements, memory, learning, regulation of sleep cycles, conduction of pain. Inadequate amount is found in people with Alzheimers.

Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA) • • • • • • Amino acid group Inhibitory neurotransmitter. Impaired GABA receptors: anxiety disorders, panic attacks, seizures, Parkinson’s. Tranquilizing drugs increase or imitate the effects of GABA. Oral supplementation of GABA is not proven effective, maybe due to blood-brain barrier. Drugs that increase GABA in the brain can be used to treat anxiety,

Glutamate • • • • • • Amino acid group Common name: monosodium glutamate or MSG. Found in all complex living organisms. Most important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Involved in memory, cognition, and learning. Impaired receptors can result in intellectual disabilities, alzheimer's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and lathyrism.

Serotonin • • • • • • Biogenic amine group Inhibitory Effects emotion, sleep, appetite, mood, and perception. Inadequate levels can lead to depression, anger management problems, OCD, and suicide. Prozac prevents reuptake, warm milk does this as well. Plays an important role in perception, LSD/hallucinogens block serotonin receptor sites.

Norepinephrine • • • • • Biogenic amine group Involved in attention, concentration, consciousness, control of body temperature, and pituitary gland regulation. Also a hormone in the body. Underlies fight or flight response in brain with epinephrine. Agonistic drugs are used to enhance norepinephrine to

Dopamine • • • • • • Biogenic amine group Inhibitory or excitatory Pleasure and elation- both minor and major. Plays a role in movement, attention, learning, and the brain’s reward system. Known for it’s importance in addiction- alcohol, opium, heroin, cocaine, and nicotine all increase dopamine levels. Inadequate levels can lead to ADHD, Parkinson’s.

References • • • •

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