its all about the Na+ and K+ ions...

neurotransmitter function: direct vs indirect effects

the synapse

 current = a measurement of ions crossing the membrane. the resistance of the membrane slows down ion exchange which causes the  current to be weak. 

   biogenic amines  

​propagation along a myelinated axon travels 18-120 m/sec
(40-270 mph)

when a cell is at its resting potential of -70mv, it is said to be polarized.

a shift to this resting potential towards a less - potential by the movement of Na+ ions into the cell = depolarization

restoring the normal resting potential after depolarization is called 


an increase in the negativity of the resting potential = hyperpolarization

propagation of an action potential

temporal vs spatial summation
a single excitatory post synaptic potential (ESPS)  (0.5mv)won't provide enough stimulation to reach threshold generating an action potential but individual ESPSs can combine to reach threshold. This can occur 2 ways...

spatial summation = multiple presynaptic neurons release enough neurotransmitter to reach threshold
temporal summation = one presynaptic neuron releases neurotransmitter many times over a period of time to reach threshold

 amino acids 

 nicotinic                         muscarinic  

and back to
​resting potential...

voltage is the measurement of potential energy generated by separate charges

​measured in millivolts (mv)

cholinergic synapses are the most common, found at:
CNS synapses
PNS neuron/neuron synapses
NMJ/NGJ in ANS parasympathetic division

the nerve  impulse

other neurotransmitters and their functions 

muscarinic receptors are found at cholinergic synapses in the CNS and at postganglionic parasympathetic nerve terminals. 

presynaptic facilitation by serotonin 

 1. a stimulus starts a rapid change in voltage. 

 2. depolarization is caused by a the opening of sodium channels causing an influx of Na+ ions.
threshold is reached.

 3. repolarization results from Na+ channel closing and a large efflux of K+ ions from activated K+ channels.

 4. hyperpolarization is caused by the efflux of potassium ions and closing of the potassium channels.

​ 5. the resting state is established when the membrane potential returns to the voltage before the stimulus. 

an ionotropic receptor is a membrane protein that responds to ligand binding by allowing ions to move across the membrane through an open ion channel.

speaking of neuromodulation...
presynaptic inhibition by GABA

nodes are 1-2 mm apart 

electrical synapses are 
electrical and mechanical connections between two neurons ​found at a gap junction. 
An electrical synapse has channel proteins between pre/postsynaptic neurons connecting the two neurons so the electrical signal can travel straight over the synapse.


                     adrenergic receptors                   

a chemical synapse is a gap between two neurons where a nerve impulse is relayed 
chemically in the form of neurotransmitters. 
chemical synapses are found at junctions between two neurons and between neurons and non-neuronal cells such as muscles (neuromuscular junction) or glands (neuroglandular junction). 

all nicotinic receptors are ionotropic (ligand-gated ion channels)
nicotinic receptors respond to drugs such as nicotine, an agonist. 

axon diameter vs propagation speed

type A - 120 m/sec
type B - 40 m/sec
type C - 1 m/sec  

adrenergic receptors (adrenoceptors) are metabotropic. they bind catecholamines such as
norepinephrine/noradrenaline and

excitatory neurotransmitters initiate a post synaptic action potential by causing depolarization of the post synaptic cell producing an
EPSP = excitatory postsynaptic potential.
inhibitory neurotransmitters cause the post synaptic cell to hyperpolarize therefore suppressing an action potential producing an
IPSP = inhibitory post synaptic potential.
it is NOT the neurotransmitter that determines how the post synaptic cell will respond but rather the post synaptic receptor of that neurotransmitter. 

in a

 nicotinic vs muscarinic cholinergic receptors 

nicotinic receptors are found at cholinergic synapses in the CNS, at parasympathetic and sympathetic autonomic ganglia, and at the neuromuscular junction.

​ period

 the adrenal medulla is the core of the adrenal gland. it participates in the flight or fight response by secreting epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline)

 current =
​a measurement of ions crossing the membrane 

​propagation along
an unmyelinated axon travels
​1 meter/sec (2 mph)

think threshold

 Welcome to Dr. Kate Brilakis' Learning Portal

cholinergic synapses release acelylcholine

types of

neurotransmitter imbalances

muscarinic receptors are metabotropic
(g-protein coupled receptors)
which trigger a series of intracellular events using second messengers. 

cell membrane potential relies on:
1. the ECF and ICF have different composition of ions
ECF has high Na+ and Cl-
ICF has high K+ and negatively charged proteins
2. plasma membranes are selectively permeable
ions must move across via ion channels

some channels are more "accessible" than others
ex: outgoing K+ channels are "leakier" than incoming Na+ channels
proteins can not cross the membrane which contributes to cell's (-) charge