The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry
Neurotransmitters Contain Chemicals
Neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) released from the vesicles of one neuron leave the cell and physically move through a narrow watery space between neurons, called the synaptic gap. This space between the two neurons is about 20 nanometers (one nanometer equals 0.000,000,1 centimeters).
The joining of the neurotransmitters to their specific receptor sites on the receiving neuron can promote the generation of a new electrical impulse (the neuron “fires”) OR the neurotransmitters can have an inhibitory effect, making it harder for the neuron to fire.
Keywords: brain | chemical messenger | neurons | neurotransmitter | receptor site | receptors | synapse | synaptic gap
- SEM image of a nerve ending with its neurotransmitters. SEM courtesy of Tina Carvalho, MS, University of Hawai’i, and The Cell: An Image Library.
- From the Brain Chemistry Teacher’s Guide activity, “Neurotransmitters Contain Chemicals.” Brain Chemistry Teacher’s Guide © Baylor College of Medicine (ISBN: 978-1-888997-45-3) was supported, in part, by funds from the National Institutes of Health, Science Education Partnership Award grant number R25RR13454, and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse and NIH Office of the Director, grant number 5R25DA033006.
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Funded by the following grant(s)
NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and NIH Office of the Director
The Learning Brain: Interactive Inquiry for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: 5R25DA033006
Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454