The brain is made up of at least one hundred billion neurons, and these neurons are assisted by a variety of supporting cells. Neurons communicate with each other via electrical or chemical messages; the electricity causes the release of chemicals. The electrical impulses are similar to the electricity that flows throughout your home. In your home, you must place a plug into a socket for the electricity to flow into the device you have plugged in. The body is similar to this, and yet it is very different because there are no physical connections between neurons in the brain. Instead of one neuron touching another and sending a message via a physical connection, neurotransmitters are released into a space called the synaptic cleft.
Answer the following questions:
- Describe vesicles and terminal buttons in a presynaptic neuron. How are neurotransmitters released into the synaptic cleft, and what happens to them after they are released? What must happen at the postsynaptic neuron to ensure binding?
- Neurons are released into the synaptic cleft where the neurotransmitter diffuses throughout the space. What are the advantages and disadvantages of not having neurons connected to each other?
- What role do the supporting cells play in neurotransmission? Describe the role of at least two different types of supporting cells. Are the supporting cells as important as the neurons when it comes to neural communication?
Respond to at least two of your classmates. As in all assignments, make sure to cite your sources in your work and provide references for those citations utilizing APA format.