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Purves D, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, et al., editors. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001.

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Neuroscience. 2nd edition.

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Chapter 6Neurotransmitters


For the most part, neurons in the human brain communicate with one another by releasing chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. All neurotransmitter molecules undergo a similar cycle of use involving (1) synthesis and packaging into vesicles in the presynaptic cell; (2) release from the presynaptic cell and binding to receptors on one or more postsynaptic cells; and (3) rapid removal and/or degradation. The total number of neurotransmitters is not known, but is well over 100. Despite this diversity, these agents can be classified into two broad categories: small-molecule neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. In general, small-molecule neurotransmitters mediate rapid synaptic actions, whereas neuropeptides tend to modulate slower, ongoing synaptic functions. Abnormalities of neurotransmitter function contribute to a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders. As a result, altering aspects of neurotransmitter release, binding, and reuptake or removal by pharmacological or other means is central to many therapeutic strategies.

  • What Defines a Neurotransmitter?
  • Two Major Categories of Neurotransmitters
  • Neurons Often Release More Than One Transmitter
  • Neurotransmitter Synthesis
  • Packaging Neurotransmitters
  • Neurotransmitter Release and Removal
  • Acetylcholine
  • Glutamate
  • GABA and Glycine
  • The Biogenic Amines
  • ATP and Other Purines
  • Peptide Neurotransmitters
  • Summary
  • Additional Reading

By agreement with the publisher, this book is accessible by the search feature, but cannot be browsed.

Copyright © 2001, Sinauer Associates, Inc.
Bookshelf ID: NBK10795


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