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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

Overview

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.

Contents

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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