NURS6630: Neurotransmitters Discussion

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NURS6630: Neurotransmitters Discussion

NURS6630: Neurotransmitters Discussion

Which statement about neurotransmitters and medications is
true?

NURS6630: Neurotransmitters

NURS6630: Neurotransmitters

How nerve cells communicate, how their activity is controlled and how it can be recorded. This starts with the ionic basis of the resting membrane potential, how this changes in the initiation of an action potential and an analysis of the presynaptic Ca++ channels involved in controlling neurotransmitter release. Postsynaptically neurons are excited or inhibited by the rapid and direct opening of neurotransmitter controlled Na+ and Cl channels but the pattern and frequency of their discharge is determined by slower and smaller changes in potential often involving voltage dependent K+ or Ca++ channels. Special attention is given to two K+ channels (M and SKa) vital to membrane repolarisation and Ca++ channels involved in rhythmic cell firing. The role of these channels is clearly illustrated as is the patch clamp technique for recording single channel and whole cell currents in vitro and the extracellular recording of evoked potentials and EEG in vivo.

Conventional transmitters that occur in afferent fibers to the cortex from brain-stem and basal forebrain sites are: serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, and acetylcholine. All of these except dopamine are distributed to all cortical areas: dopamine is distributed to frontal and cingulate areas only. The transmitter in thalamic afferent systems is unknown.

Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the transmitter used by the majority of cortical interneurons and has a profound effect upon the shaping of receptive field properties. The vast majority of the known cortical peptides are found in GABAergic neurons, and the possibility exists that they may act as trophic substances for other neurons. Levels of certain neuropeptides decline in cases of dementia of cortical origin. Acetylcholine is the only other known transmitter of cortical neurons. It, too, is contained in neurons that also contain a neuropeptide.

The transmitter(s) used by excitatory cortical interneurons and by the efferent pyramidal cells is unknown, but it may be glutamate or aspartate. It is possible that excitotoxins released in anoxic disease of the cortex may produce damage by acting on receptors for these or related transmitter agents.

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