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The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry

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

Neuron Firing

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.

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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