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There are two families of receptors: ionotropic and metabotropic receptors.
Ionotropic receptors are a combination of a receptor and an ion channel.
Neurons are diverse with respect to morphology and function.
Thus, not all neurons correspond to the stereotypical motor neuron with dendrites and myelinated axons that conduct action potentials.
Metabotropic receptors on the other hand activate second messenger cascade systems that result in the opening of ion channel located some place else on the same postsynaptic membrane.
Although slower than ionotropic receptors that function as on-and-off switches, metabotropic receptors have the advantage of changing the cell's responsiveness to ions and other metabolites, examples being gamma amino-butyric acid (inhibitory transmitter), glutamic acid (excitatory transmitter), dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, melanin, serotonin, melatonin, and substance P.
Moreover, the distinctions based on function between neurons and other cells such as cardiac and muscle cells are not helpful.
Thus, the fundamental difference between a neuron and a nonneuronal cell is a matter of degree.
These allow Ca2 ions to diffuse through these channels and bind with synaptic vesicles within the terminal boutons.Neurons are cells that are specialized to receive, propagate, and transmit electrochemical impulses.In the human brain alone, there are over eighty billion neurons.In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity.Since memories are postulated to be represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory (see Hebbian theory).
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Synaptic plasticity in both excitatory and inhibitory synapses has been found to be dependent upon postsynaptic calcium release Two molecular mechanisms for synaptic plasticity (researched by the Eric Kandel laboratories) involve the NMDA and AMPA glutamate receptors.