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Communication networks in the brain: neurons, receptors, neurotransmitters, and alcohol.

Lovinger DM - Alcohol Res Health (2008)

Bottom Line: Hundreds of molecules are known to act as neurotransmitters in the brain.Neuronal development and function also are affected by peptides known as neurotrophins and by steroid hormones.It focuses on neurotransmitters with important roles in acute and chronic alcohol effects on the brain, such as those that contribute to intoxication, tolerance, dependence, and neurotoxicity, as well as maintained alcohol drinking and addiction.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland.

ABSTRACT
Nerve cells (i.e., neurons) communicate via a combination of electrical and chemical signals. Within the neuron, electrical signals driven by charged particles allow rapid conduction from one end of the cell to the other. Communication between neurons occurs at tiny gaps called synapses, where specialized parts of the two cells (i.e., the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons) come within nanometers of one another to allow for chemical transmission. The presynaptic neuron releases a chemical (i.e., a neurotransmitter) that is received by the postsynaptic neuron's specialized proteins called neurotransmitter receptors. The neurotransmitter molecules bind to the receptor proteins and alter postsynaptic neuronal function. Two types of neurotransmitter receptors exist-ligand-gated ion channels, which permit rapid ion flow directly across the outer cell membrane, and G-protein-coupled receptors, which set into motion chemical signaling events within the cell. Hundreds of molecules are known to act as neurotransmitters in the brain. Neuronal development and function also are affected by peptides known as neurotrophins and by steroid hormones. This article reviews the chemical nature, neuronal actions, receptor subtypes, and therapeutic roles of several transmitters, neurotrophins, and hormones. It focuses on neurotransmitters with important roles in acute and chronic alcohol effects on the brain, such as those that contribute to intoxication, tolerance, dependence, and neurotoxicity, as well as maintained alcohol drinking and addiction.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Schematic drawing of a neuron showing dendrites, where neurons receive chemical input from other neurons; soma (cell body); and axon terminal, where neurons communicate information to other cells. Voltage-gated sodium channels in the membrane of the soma, axon, and axon terminal allow positively charged sodium ions to enter the neuron and produce rapid (in milliseconds) conduction of the excitatory action potential to the terminal. This signal stimulates neurotransmitter release at the axon terminal.
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f1-arh-31-3-196: Schematic drawing of a neuron showing dendrites, where neurons receive chemical input from other neurons; soma (cell body); and axon terminal, where neurons communicate information to other cells. Voltage-gated sodium channels in the membrane of the soma, axon, and axon terminal allow positively charged sodium ions to enter the neuron and produce rapid (in milliseconds) conduction of the excitatory action potential to the terminal. This signal stimulates neurotransmitter release at the axon terminal.

Mentions: Neurons are the cells within the brain that are responsible for rapid communication of information. Although similar to other cells in the body, neurons are specialized in ways that set them apart from other cells and endow them with the properties that allow them to carry out their unique role in the nervous system. The neuron’s shape is one such unique feature. In addition to the cell body, or soma, which is much like that of other cells, neurons have specialized thin branches know as dendrites and axons. Neurons receive chemical input from other neurons through dendrites and communicate information to other cells through axons. Neurons also are “excitable” cells. The neuronal surface membrane contains an abundance of proteins known as ion channels that allow small charged atoms to pass through from one side of the membrane to the other. Some of these channels are opened when the voltage across the cell membrane changes. One subtype of these “voltage-gated” channels allows the neuron to produce a rapid signal known as the “action potential,” which is the fastest form of intracellular electrical signal conduction in biology (see figure 1).


Communication networks in the brain: neurons, receptors, neurotransmitters, and alcohol.

Lovinger DM - Alcohol Res Health (2008)

Schematic drawing of a neuron showing dendrites, where neurons receive chemical input from other neurons; soma (cell body); and axon terminal, where neurons communicate information to other cells. Voltage-gated sodium channels in the membrane of the soma, axon, and axon terminal allow positively charged sodium ions to enter the neuron and produce rapid (in milliseconds) conduction of the excitatory action potential to the terminal. This signal stimulates neurotransmitter release at the axon terminal.
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3860493&req=5

f1-arh-31-3-196: Schematic drawing of a neuron showing dendrites, where neurons receive chemical input from other neurons; soma (cell body); and axon terminal, where neurons communicate information to other cells. Voltage-gated sodium channels in the membrane of the soma, axon, and axon terminal allow positively charged sodium ions to enter the neuron and produce rapid (in milliseconds) conduction of the excitatory action potential to the terminal. This signal stimulates neurotransmitter release at the axon terminal.
Mentions: Neurons are the cells within the brain that are responsible for rapid communication of information. Although similar to other cells in the body, neurons are specialized in ways that set them apart from other cells and endow them with the properties that allow them to carry out their unique role in the nervous system. The neuron’s shape is one such unique feature. In addition to the cell body, or soma, which is much like that of other cells, neurons have specialized thin branches know as dendrites and axons. Neurons receive chemical input from other neurons through dendrites and communicate information to other cells through axons. Neurons also are “excitable” cells. The neuronal surface membrane contains an abundance of proteins known as ion channels that allow small charged atoms to pass through from one side of the membrane to the other. Some of these channels are opened when the voltage across the cell membrane changes. One subtype of these “voltage-gated” channels allows the neuron to produce a rapid signal known as the “action potential,” which is the fastest form of intracellular electrical signal conduction in biology (see figure 1).

Bottom Line: Hundreds of molecules are known to act as neurotransmitters in the brain.Neuronal development and function also are affected by peptides known as neurotrophins and by steroid hormones.It focuses on neurotransmitters with important roles in acute and chronic alcohol effects on the brain, such as those that contribute to intoxication, tolerance, dependence, and neurotoxicity, as well as maintained alcohol drinking and addiction.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland.

ABSTRACT
Nerve cells (i.e., neurons) communicate via a combination of electrical and chemical signals. Within the neuron, electrical signals driven by charged particles allow rapid conduction from one end of the cell to the other. Communication between neurons occurs at tiny gaps called synapses, where specialized parts of the two cells (i.e., the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons) come within nanometers of one another to allow for chemical transmission. The presynaptic neuron releases a chemical (i.e., a neurotransmitter) that is received by the postsynaptic neuron's specialized proteins called neurotransmitter receptors. The neurotransmitter molecules bind to the receptor proteins and alter postsynaptic neuronal function. Two types of neurotransmitter receptors exist-ligand-gated ion channels, which permit rapid ion flow directly across the outer cell membrane, and G-protein-coupled receptors, which set into motion chemical signaling events within the cell. Hundreds of molecules are known to act as neurotransmitters in the brain. Neuronal development and function also are affected by peptides known as neurotrophins and by steroid hormones. This article reviews the chemical nature, neuronal actions, receptor subtypes, and therapeutic roles of several transmitters, neurotrophins, and hormones. It focuses on neurotransmitters with important roles in acute and chronic alcohol effects on the brain, such as those that contribute to intoxication, tolerance, dependence, and neurotoxicity, as well as maintained alcohol drinking and addiction.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus