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Video: Neurotransmitters In The Brain
Neurotransmitters: messenger substances in the brain
Billions of nerve cells (neurons) are connected to one another in our brain - they communicate with one another. They do this via electrical impulses that are "translated" with the help of neurotransmitters.
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Signal transmission at the synaptic gap
The place where nerve cells communicate with each other is the synaptic gap. This is located between two ends of nerve cells, the so-called synapses. A synapse is structured as follows:
- At the end of the nerve cell that transmits a signal to another is the presynaptic membrane.
- The nerve cell that receives a signal has a so-called postsynaptic membrane.
- The synaptic gap lies between these membranes.
Signal transmission in nerve cells © Axel Kock
An electrical nerve impulse cannot simply jump over this gap, but needs a “messenger” for its message. The neurotransmitters perform this task. These biochemical transmitters are stored in the presynaptic nerve endings in small vesicles. An electrical signal sets them free. As a result, they reach the adjacent nerve cell through the synaptic gap. There the chemical is translated back into an electrical signal. All of this happens in a few milliseconds. The neurotransmitter is then broken down again or transported back to the original nerve cell and taken up there (resumption, reuptake). Typical neurotransmitters are, for example, serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. However, there are also neurotransmitters that inhibit signal transmission, such as GABA.