How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Neurotransmitters are critical components of the transmission system between neurons.
When a neuron 'fires', neurotransmitters are released from vesicules in the pre-synaptic terminal buttons (of the firing neuron) and travel across the synapse to the post-synaptic membrane (of the target neuron) where they dock with postsynaptic receptors where they act to open particular ion channels that allows in ions and so trigger or inhibit an action potential in the postsypnaptic neuron, thus propagating or preventing a chain of neural firing. In this way we think and feel, and the functions of our body are controlled.
After use, neurotransmitters are either re-absorbed and re-used, or destroyed, either by special chemical or after transport to the liver or kidneys.
There is a wide range of neurotransmitters, although relatively few are of major interest in many cases.
These neurotransmitters are perhaps those which are most commonly discussed.
In addition to the small molecule neurotransmitters, there are a number of additional molecules that act as neurotransmitters.
Here are brief notes about a few:
In more detail, this would include:
Other molecules that get released into the synapse and are sometimes considered as neurotransmitters include zinc ions and gases nitric oxide and carbon monoxide.
There are a number of systems or 'circuits' which activate a large area of the brain at once in volume transmission. An effect of this is that drugs targeting the key neurotransmitter get to affect the whole system in one go.