Synapses

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  • Synapse
    • Where two neurones meet
    • Gap between cells known as the synaptic cleft
    • Stimulating neurone = presynaptic membrane
      • Synaptic vesicles that contain neurotransmitters are found at the end of the neurone
      • Arrival of action potential triggers release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft
        • Neurotransmitters diffuse across the gap
          • Leads to depolarisation of of the postsynaptic membrane
            • Impulse propagated along the postsynaptic membrane
          • Neurotransmitters bind to receptors on postsynaptic membrane
            • Cations channels open and Na+ flow through the channel
            • Neurotransmitters taken up across presynaptic membrane or diffused then broken down
              • E.g. acetylcholine is broken up by acetylcholinesterase
        • When membrane is depolarised, Ca+ channels open and Ca+ ions enter the neurone
          • Causes vesicles to fuse with membrane
    • Receiving neurone = postsynaptic membrane

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