Seven Processes in Neurotransmitter Action

Seven Processes in Neurotransmitter Action

This illustration lists seven processes in neurotransmitter action. They are:

1.  Neurotransmitter molecules are synthesized from precursors under the influence of enzymes.

2.  Neurotransmitter molecules are stored in vesicles.

3.  Neurotransmitter molecules that leak from their vesicles are destroyed by enzyme.

4.  Action potentials cause vesicles to fuse with the presynaptic membrane and release their neurotransmitter molecules into the synapse.

5.  Released neurotransmitter molecules bind with autoreceptors and inhibit subsequent neurotransmitter release.

6.  Released neurotransmitter molecules bind to postsynaptic receptors.

7.  Released neurotransmitter molecules are deactivated either by reuptake or enzymatic degredation.

Summarizing the seven processes, we have:

  • synthesis
  • storage in vesicles
  • breakdown (of any neurotransmitter leaking from the vesicles)
  • exocytosis
  • inhibitory feedback (via autoreceptors
  • activation of postsynaptic receptors
  • deactivation

Number 7 explains what happens when cocaine is introduced into the body. 

Here's how it works. 

When cocaine molecules are present, neurotransmitters (like Dopamine, for example) cannot deactivate because the process of "dopamine reuptake" (or deactivation) is blocked.

Why does that matter? 

Instead of deactivation there is increased stimulation of the central nervous system, the heart muscle and the vascular smooth muscle.

These changes can adversely impact a person's heart.  Heart problems are often the cause of cocaine-related deaths.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Sep 25, 2018

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Weber State University.



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"Seven Processes in Neurotransmitter Action" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Sep 24, 2018.
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