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Lecture 14

BIOL 1F25 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Tachycardia, Nucleus Accumbens, Caffeine

Biological Sciences
Course Code
Gaynor E Spencer

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November 06th 2015
Nicholas Vespirini
Lecture 14
*From last week:
Psychoactive substances: Chemical substances that can cross the blood-brain barrier and act
primarily upon the CNS affecting brain function
Not always illegal drugs and can be found in products used regularly.
The most widely used psychoactive drug in the world: Caffeine.
90% of people in North America consume it daily.
#2 legal traded substance in the world, next to oil.
Profits made from caffeine sales:
Coffee: est 2.25 billion cups sold daily
At $1-$2 a cup……2.25-4.5 billion dollars
Coca-Cola: est 1-2 billion units sold daily
At $1-$2 each…..1-4 billion dollars per day
Caffeines mode of action and pathways effected parallel those of many other psychoactive
Note: The similar pathways effected by cocaine and caffeine
When ingested orally:
Caffeine absorption from the gastrointestinal tract is rapid and reaches 99% in humans in
about 45 min after ingestion
Readily diffuses into the bloodstream
Freely passes through the blood-brain barrier and into the brain
Blood serum half life of ~ 5 hours
Synapse Review:
Synaptic vesicles containing chemicals (neurotransmitters)
Fuse with membrane and release chemicals.
Chemicals move across synaptic cleft and bind to receptors on receiving cell.
Message is transferred.
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Adenosine: suppresses neural activity associated with feeling tired.
Caffeine just like cocaine, is a stimulant.
Arguably the most significant area of the brain influenced by caffeine is the pituitary.
Responds to increased activity as if an emergency was happening
Releases a hormone which travels to the adrenal glands(sits atop the kidney)
Triggers the release of adrenaline
Dilation of pupils
Dilated airways
Increased heart rate
Blood flow increases(Particularly to the muscles)
Liver releases more sugar into the bloodstream
Muscles become tight and ready for action
Which other areas of the brain are affected?
Which areas of the brain have adenosine receptors?
Nucleus accumbens
Dopamine rich regions of the brain
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