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The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Tadzia GrandPré, PhD

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. 

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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

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454