The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry
The photo is of a motor neuron’s nerve endings on top of skeletal muscle fibers. The dark, bumpy areas at the end of each nerve are called motor end plates (neuromuscular junctions). Each motor end plate is associated with only one muscle fiber. When the neuron fires, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) is released into the space between the motor neuron (synaptic cleft) and that of the muscle fiber; it diffuses across the space and triggers the series of events that leads to contraction of the muscle.
Keywords: brain | motor end plates | motor neuron | muscle fiber | neuromuscular junction | neuron | neuron firing
- From the Brain Chemistry Teacher’s Guide activity, “Neural Network Signals.” 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.
- Microscopic image courtesy of Thomas Caceci, PhD, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
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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