neurotransmitter

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Related to Neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine

neurotransmitter,

chemical that transmits information across the junction (synapsesynapse
, junction between various signal-transmitter cells, either between two neurons or between a neuron and a muscle or gland. A nerve impulse reaches the synapse through the axon, or transmitting end, of a nerve cell, or neuron.
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) that separates one nerve cell (neuron) from another nerve cell or a muscle. Neurotransmitters are stored in the nerve cell's bulbous end (axon). When an electrical impulse traveling along the nerve reaches the axon, the neurotransmitter is released and travels across the synapse, either prompting or inhibiting continued electrical impulses along the nerve. There are more than 300 known neurotransmitters, including chemicals such as acetylcholineacetylcholine
, a small organic molecule liberated at nerve endings as a neurotransmitter. It is particularly important in the stimulation of muscle tissue. The transmission of an impulse to the end of the nerve causes it to release neurotransmitter molecules onto the surface of
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, norepinephrinenorepinephrine
, a neurotransmitter in the catecholamine family that mediates chemical communication in the sympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system.
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, adenosine triphosphateadenosine triphosphate
(ATP) , organic compound composed of adenine, the sugar ribose, and three phosphate groups. ATP serves as the major energy source within the cell to drive a number of biological processes such as photosynthesis, muscle contraction, and the synthesis of
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, and the endorphinsendorphins
, neurotransmitters found in the brain that have pain-relieving properties similar to morphine. There are three major types of endorphins: beta endorpins, found primarily in the pituitary gland; and enkephalins and dynorphin, both distributed throughout the nervous
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, and gases, such as nitric oxidenitric oxide
or nitrogen monoxide,
a colorless gas formed by the combustion of nitrogen and oxygen as given by the reaction: energy + N2 + O2 → 2NO; m.p. −163.6°C;; b.p. −151.8°C;.
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. Neurotransmitters transmit information within the brain and from the brain to all the parts of the body. Acetylcholine, for example, sends messages to the skeletal muscles, sweat glands, and heart; serotoninserotonin
, organic compound that was first recognized as a powerful vasoconstrictor occurring in blood serum. It was partially purified, crystallized, and named in 1948, and its structure was deduced a year later.
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 release underlies the process of learning and consciousness.

The actions of some drugs mimic those of naturally occurring neurotransmitters. The pain-regulating endorphins, for example, are similar in structure to heroin and codeine, which fill endorphin receptors to accomplish their effects. The wakefulness that follows caffeine consumption is the result of its blocking the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity. Abnormalities in the production or functioning of certain neurotransmitters have been implicated in a number of diseases including Parkinson's diseaseParkinson's disease
or Parkinsonism,
degenerative brain disorder first described by the English surgeon James Parkinson in 1817. When there is no known cause, the disease usually appears after age 40 and is referred to as Parkinson's disease; a number of genes have
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, amyotrophic lateral sclerosisamyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(ALS) or motor neuron disease,
sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease, degenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, preventing them from sending impulses to the muscles.
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, and clinical depressiondepression,
in psychiatry, a symptom of mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of loss, sadness, hopelessness, failure, and rejection. The two major types of mood disorder are unipolar disorder, also called major depression, and bipolar disorder, whose sufferers are
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.

neurotransmitter

[‚nu̇r·ō‚tranz′mid·ər]
(neuroscience)
A chemical agent that is released by a neuron at a synapse, diffuses across the synapse, and acts upon a postsynaptic neuron, a muscle, or a gland cell.
References in periodicals archive ?
The effect of polychlorinated biphenyls on the uptake of dopamine and other neurotransmitters into rat brain synaptic vesicles.
Firing activity of serotonin and norepinephrine neurons is an important parameter because, at least at the beginning of antidepressant therapy, firing is directly proportional to the amount of the neurotransmitter that will be released throughout the brain.
They may not promote or antagonize the neurotransmitters most involved in sleep, but when one neurotransmitter's concentration or activity changes, the whole balance of brain chemistry is altered by mechanisms that science is now elucidating.
Our results are the first to explain precisely how the vesicular release of neurotransmitters is impaired.
Sue Kinnamon of Colorado State University in Fort Collins and her team noted that ATP assumes the role of neurotransmitter in a few other places in the body.
High levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine appear to reverse these stress-induced hippocampal changes, as does electroconvulsive therapy Psychotherapy might alleviate, thus attenuating stress associated with life events.
This volume encompasses a number of themes in several sections: (1) functional neuroanatomy of stress response; (2) brain monoamines and neuropeptides in stress; (3) molecular genetics of neurotransmitter enzymes in stress; (4) molecular genetics of stress hormones; (5) transcriptional regulation of heart function in stress; (6) neuroendocrine regulations in stress and their molecular biological basis; (7) stress hormone receptors; (8) stress, adaptation, and metabolism; and (9) clinical aspects of stress-induced changes in neurotransmitter and hormone systems.
Other than being responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells, these neurotransmitters also influence our mood.
The biochemistry shown in Figure 1 shows how neurotransmitters are synthesized from amino acids.
This finding counters the traditional scientific view that genes alone determine which neurotransmitters a brain cell synthesizes.
The neurotransmitters from one neuron move across the synapse and lock into spaces called receptors on other neurons.

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