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Neurotransmission, or synaptic transmission, involves the passage of signals by electrical or chemical means from one neuron to another. It allows communication between nerve cells for the propagation of electrical impulses to and from the central nervous system leading to the co-ordination of secretion, muscle contraction and organ function.
Neurotransmission usually requires the release of endogenous chemicals, 'neurotransmitters', at synapses between neighbouring neurons. Neurotransmitters are synthesized and stored in the axons of neurons and release upon an increase of intracellular Ca2+, caused by an action potential. This releases neurotransmitters into the synapse where they can exert effects at postsynaptic neurons. They do this by binding to receptors (usually ligand-gated ion channels or GPCRs) and exerting an effect by causing ion influxes which depolarize the post-synaptic membrane, or by initiating a complex signaling cascade. Both these effects initiate an action potential at the postsynaptic neuron, propagating waves of energy downstream. Synaptic signals and action potentials are integral for all the information processing capabilities of the brain.
Neurotransmission and the strength of a connection between neurons can depend on a variety of factors. This includes; the number of synaptic contacts between 2 neurons, the size of post-synaptic depolarization elicited by neurotransmitters and the probability of neurotransmitter release. Many neurological diseases can occur due to defective flow of neurotransmitters at neuronal synapses. This may result in no impulse reaching the post-synaptic neuron and therefore no responses are exerted by the neurotransmitter downstream. Some examples of diseases with altered neurotransmission include; schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, anxiety disorder and Alzheimer's. Changes in neurotransmission have also been related to drug addiction.
Tocris offers the following scientific literature for Neurotransmission to showcase our products. We invite you to request* or download your copy today!
*Please note that Tocris will only send literature to established scientific business / institute addresses.
Written by Nicholas M. Barnes and John F. Neumaier, this review summarizes the various serotonin receptor subtypes and their importance in mediating the role of serotonin in numerous physiological and pharmacological processes. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.
Written by Phillip Strange and revised by Kim Neve in 2013, this review summarizes the history of the dopamine receptors and provides an overview of individual receptor subtype properties, their distribution and identifies ligands which act at each receptor subtype. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.
Major depressive disorder is characterized by depressed mood and a loss of interest and/or pleasure. Updated in 2015 this poster highlights presynaptic and postsynaptic targets for the potential treatment of major depressive disorder, as well as outlining the pharmacology of currently approved antidepressant drugs.
Parkinson's disease (PD) causes chronic disability and is the second most common neurodegenerative condition. This poster outlines the neurobiology of the disease, as well as highlighting current therapeutic treatments for symptomatic PD, and emerging therapeutic strategies to delay PD onset and progression.