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Between neurons, there are two primary methods in which an impulse or action potential can reach another neuron, via a chemical and electrical synapse.

Chemical synapse

This involves a chemical messenger and the fact that both neurons are not physically connected, rather the chemical must diffuse across a synaptic cleft to pass on the message. Chemical synapses tend to be slower than electrical ones.

  1. The process begins with a wave of electrochemical excitation called an action potential traveling along the membrane of the presynaptic cell, until it reaches the synapse.
  2. The electrical depolarization of the membrane at the synapse causes channels to open that are permeable to calcium ions.
  3. Calcium ions flow through the presynaptic membrane, rapidly increasing the calcium concentration in the interior.
  4. The high calcium concentration activates a set of calcium-sensitive proteins attached to vesicles that contain a neurotransmitter chemical.
  5. These proteins change shape, causing the membranes of some "docked" vesicles to fuse with the membrane of the presynaptic cell, thereby opening the vesicles and dumping their neurotransmitter contents into the synaptic cleft, the narrow space between the membranes of the pre- and post-synaptic cells.
  6. The neurotransmitter diffuses within the cleft. Some of it escapes, but some of it binds to chemical receptor molecules located on the membrane of the postsynaptic cell.
  7. The binding of neurotransmitter causes the receptor molecule to be activated in some way. Several types of activation are possible, as described in more detail below. In any case, this is the key step by which the synaptic process affects the behavior of the postsynaptic cell.
  8. Due to thermal shaking, neurotransmitter molecules eventually break loose from the receptors and drift away.
  9. The neurotransmitter is either reabsorbed by the presynaptic cell, and then repackaged for future release, or else it is broken down metabolically.

This type of synapse is often found in the muscles.

Electrical synapse (a.k.a. gap junctions)

This may also involve a chemical messenger however generally they are the charged ions directly from the action potential. Additionally, the connection between different neurons are physical and direct, resulting in a generally faster connection than a chemical synapse.

  1. The process begins with a wave of electrochemical excitation called an action potential traveling along the membrane of the presynaptic cell, until it reaches the synapse.
  2. Ions directly travel through the gap junctions and into the next neuron.

This type of synapse is often found in the heart.

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βˆ™ 2011-03-19 17:18:47
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Q: How does an impulse travel from one neuron to another?
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Related questions

How do Nerve impulses travel from one neuron to another?

Electoral impulse


How long does it take for an impulse to travel from one neuron to another?

one second


What junction is where one neuron can transfer an impulse to another structure is called?

synapse is that junction through which impulse can be transmitted from one neuron to another.


What is the point at which an impulse is transmitted from one neuron to another neuron?

Synapse


A nerve impulse travels from one cell to another by passing from what?

A nerve impulse passes from an axon terminal of one neuron to another neuron across a synaptic gap.


What do neurotransmitters do and where do they come from?

Neurotransmitters are molecules that travel from the synapses of one neuron to the dendrites of another neuron, activating channels on the second neuron that allow an influx of ions to rush in and start an impulse within the second neuron.


What chemical do synapses use to move from one neuron to another?

Acetylchoine in the synpases mediates transmission of impulse from one neuron to another.


Space where the nerve impulse jumps from one neuron to another?

Synapse


Why do synapses exist?

They function to convey an impulse from one neuron to another.


What is the site of impulse conduction from one neuron to another is called?

a synapse


What is the junction where one neuron can transfer an impulse to another structure called?

synapse


How do messages travel from one neuron to another?

Messages travel from one neuron to another through the neurotransmitters. Each neuron has dendrites which receive messages from other neurons.

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