SALMON: Study And Learning Materials ONline
Neurotransmitter Release and Reuptake

Neurotransmitters are responsible for transmitting information across the synaptic gap between neurones. Neurotransmitters are stored in synaptic vesicles. When action potentials are conducted down an axon: * synaptic vesicles attach themselves to the presynaptic membrane, then * break open and spill neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft. Neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft : * attach to postsynaptic receptor sites and trigger an action potential in the postsynaptic membrane * some neurotransmitter attaches to presynaptic receptors (autoreceptors) located on the membrane (pre-synaptic membrane) of the cell that originally released them

Bridging the information gap between neurones

Neurotransmitters are responsible for transmitting information across the synaptic gap between neurones.

Neurotransmitters are stored in synaptic vesicles. When action potentials are conducted down an axon:

  1. synaptic vesicles attach themselves to the presynaptic membrane, then
  2. break open and spill neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft.

Neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft :

  1. attach to postsynaptic receptor sites and trigger an action potential in the postsynaptic membrane
  2. some neurotransmitter attaches to presynaptic receptors (autoreceptors) located on the membrane (pre-synaptic membrane) of the cell that originally released them

'Mopping up' after information transmission

This animation illustrates the main events thought to be involved after transmitters have been released into the synaptic cleft.

Transmitters become detached from receptors and either:

  1. diffuse through extracellular fluid (red transmitter), or
  2. undergo reuptake (blue transmitter), or
  3. are broken down by enzymes (yellow transmitter)

Point to ponder
Why do you think some neurotransmitter is broken down by enzymes and some undergoes reuptake?

The story behind SALMON (Study And Learning Materials ONline)

Paul Kenyon

Study And Learning Materials ONline (SALMON) was developed and is maintained by Dr Paul Kenyon who graduated from Queens University Belfast in 1969 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Psychology. In 1976 he was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Reading. He lectured on the Biological Bases of Behaviour, Behavioural Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology in the Department of Psychology, University of Plymouth from 1973 to 2006. He has published papers in psychopharmacology, psychoteratology, physiological psychology and laboratory computing.

Paul started work on SALMON in 1994 to support his 1st, 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate students studying Evolutionary Psychology, Biological Bases of Behaviour and Psychobiology

SALMON won the 1998 Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) Teaching and Learning Awardfor demonstrating innovative or exemplary use of the Web and was a finalist at EASA98 held at the University of Oxford in September 1998.

SALMON was a finalist at the European Academic Software Awards (EASA)held in Oxford in 1998

Paul retired from his university post in 2006 and devotes more time than is reasonable to maintaining this website and his lifelong love of all things associated with trout and rivers. He and his colleague Geoff Stephens now operate Fly Fishing Devonwhich offers fly fishing instruction and guiding on Dartmoor and in South Devon, UK.

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