Neurotransmitters and their functions

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Neurotransmitters:

The nervous system relies on chemical couriers “neurotransmitters” to communicate information between neurons. These neurotransmitters are fundamental to behavior, playing a key role in everything from muscle movements to moods and mental health.

Acetylcholine (ACH):

ACH has been found throughout the nervous system. It is the only transmitter between motor neurons and voluntary muscles. Every move you make —walking, talking, breathing depends on ACH release to your muscles by motor neurons. ACH contributes to regulation of attention arousal and memory.

Agonist and Antagonist:

The activity of ACH (and other neurotransmitters) may be influenced by other chemicals in the brain. Although synaptic receptor sites are sensitive to specific neurotransmitters, sometimes they can be fooled by other chemical substance. For example, if you smoke tobacco, some of your ACH synapses will be stimulated by the nicotine that arrives in your blain. At these synapses, nicotine acts like ACH itself. In technical language, nicotine is an ACH agonist. An agonist is a chemical that mimics the action of a neurotransmitter.

Not all chemicals that fool synaptic receptors are agonists. Some chemicals bind to receptors but fail to produce a PSP. In effect, they temporarily block the actin of the natural transmitter by occupying its receptor sites, rendering them onusald. Thus, they act as antagonist. Antagonist is a chemical that opposes the action of a neurotransmitter.

Monoamines:

The monoamines include three neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonic.

Dopamine:

Used by neurons that control voluntary movements. The degeneration of such neurons apparently causes “park insonism” a disease marked by tremors; muscular rigidity, and reduced control over voluntary movements.

Overactivity at DA synapses has been implicated in the development of “schizophrenia”. This severe mental illness is marked by irrational thought, hallucinations, poor contact with reality, and deterioration of routine adaptive behavior.

Cocaine and amphetamines elevate activity at DA synapses.

Serotonin:

  • Involved in regulation of sleep and wahfluness, eating and egression.
  • Abnormal level may contribute to depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs affect serotonin circuits.

Norepinephrine:

  • Contribute to modulation of mood and arousal.
  • Lower level may contribute to depression.
  • Prozac and similar antidepressant drugs affect norepinephrine ccts.
  • Cocaine and amphetamines elevate activity at NE synapses.

GABA:

  • Responsible for much of the inhibition in the central Nervous system.
  • Regulation of anxiety
  • Central role in the expression of seizures.

Endorphins:

  • Internally produce chemicals that resemble opiatis in structure and effects.
  • Contribute to pain relief and pehanbs to some pleasurable emotions.

 

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