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Action Potential

(synaptic transmission)
Dr. Isabel Hwang

Teaching and Learning Unit,


School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
10 Sep 2010
Lecture Outline

Propagation 傳播 of action potentials


Synaptic transmission
Propagation (Conduction) of Nerve
Impulses
Defined as the traveling of a
nerve impulse from one part
of the body to another
Effects of neurotoxins 神經
毒素 and local anesthetics
局部麻醉藥
Axonal conduction 軸突傳導
„ Cable Properties電纜
特性
„ Refer to how axon’s
properties affect its
ability to conduct
current
„ Includes high
resistance of
cytoplasm
9 resistance decreases
as axon diameter
increases
9 current leaks out
through ion channels
Propagation of nerve signals
„ Defined as the traveling of
a nerve impulse from one
part of the body to another
Conduction in
Un-myelinated
(無髓鞘的) axon

„ After axon hillock reaches


threshold and fires AP, its
Na+ influx depolarizes
adjacent regions to
threshold
– Generating a new AP
• Process repeats all
along axon
• So AP amplitude is
always same
– Conduction is slow
Conduction in myelinated (有髓鞘的) axon

Ions can't flow across myelinated membrane


– thus no APs occur under myelin
9 this increases current spread
9 also saves energy!
Conduction in myelinated (有髓鞘的) axon

„ Gaps in myelin are called Nodes of Ranvier 郎氏結


9 APs occur only at nodes
¾ voltage-gated Na+ channels are present only at nodes
9 Current from AP at 1 node can depolarize next node to
threshold
¾ fast because APs skip from node to node
¾ is called saltatory conduction 跳躍傳導
Remember:
„ The strength of the stimulus changes the
frequency of action potentials but not the
strength of action potentials
„ Conduction speed
depends on
1. Axon diameter and
2. Myelination

Action potential sig


nal

Dendrites
Axon Synaptic
Cell Myelin
body (speeds signal terminals
突觸末梢
transmission)
Synaptic transmission
突觸傳遞
Neurons communicate at synapses
„ Synapses are
junctions where
signals are
transmitted
between
9 two neurons
9 or between
neurons and
effector cells
Synaptic transmission
„ Synapses are interaction points 交互作用點
within the nervous system
Dendrites

Myelin
sheath
Receiving
cell body

Axon
Types of synapse
„ Electrical synapses
9 Electrical signals pass between cells

„ Chemical synapses
9 Sending (presynaptic) cell secretes a chemical signal,
a neurotransmitter
9 The neurotransmitter crosses the synaptic cleft
9 The neurotransmitter binds to a receptor on the
surface of the receiving (postsynaptic) cell
Electrical Synapse 電突觸
„ Not as common as chemical synapse
„ Gap junctions 縫隙連接 connect presynaptic membranes
with postsynaptic membranes
„ Gap junctions have pores that allow ions to flow between
the two cells
„ Very efficient propagation of action potentials
9 Formed by
connexin proteins

9 Found in smooth
and cardiac
muscles, brain, and
glial cells 神經膠質
細胞 (to sustain
neurons)
Chemical synapses make complex
information processing possible
„ Some neurotransmitters
1. Excite the receiving cell
2. Inhibit the receiving cell’s activity by
decreasing its ability to develop action
potentials
Sending neuron 1
Action
Vesicles potential
Axon of arrives
sending Synaptic
neuron terminal

Synapse
2
3
Vesicle fuses
with plasma Neurotransmitter
membrane is released into
synaptic cleft

Synaptic
cleft
Receiving 4
neuron
Receiving Neurotransmitter
neuron Neurotransmitter binds to receptor
Ion channels molecules

Neurotransmitter Neurotransmitter broken


Receptor down and released

Ions

5 Ion channel opens 6 Ion channel closes


„ A neuron may receive information
9 from hundreds of other neurons
9 via thousands of synaptic terminals
„ The summation of excitation and inhibition
9 determines if a neuron will transmit a nerve
signal
Synaptic terminals

Dendrites Inhibitory Excitatory

Myelin
sheath
Receiving
cell body

Axon

Synaptic
terminals
„ Amount of NT released depends upon frequency of APs
Acetylcholine (Ach) 乙醯膽鹼
„ Most widely used neurotransmitter
9 used in brain and autonomic nervous system
9 used at all neuromuscular junctions

Ligand-Gated
Channels

z Contain both a Ach


receptor site and an ion
channel
z Open when ligand (Ach)
binds
Acetylcholinesterase 乙醯膽鹼酯脢
„ An enzyme that inactivates Ach, stopping its
action
„ located in the synaptic cleft
Summary of events

Excitatory
PostSynaptic
Potential

A single neuron postsynaptic


to one cell can be presynaptic
to another cell.
The end.