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Lecture 6

PSY 2301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Otto Loewi, Vagus Nerve, Autonomic Nervous System

Course Code
PSY 2301
Andra Smith

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How do Neurons Communicate and Adapt?
Focus on Classic Research
A Chemical Message
Varieties of Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitter Systems and Behaviour
Role of Synapses in Learning and Memory
Focus on Classic Research
The Basis of Neural Communication in a Hearbeat
Otto Loewi (1921)
Frog heart experiment
Role of the the vagus nerve and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine
(ACh) in slowing heart rate
A Chemical Message
Otto Loewi (1920s): Subsequent research
Accelerator nerve: speeds up heart rate
Epinephrine (EP, or adrenaline)
Chemical messenger that acts as a hormone to mobilize the body
for fight or flight during times of stress and as a neurotransmitter in
the central nervous system
Norepinephrine (NE, or noradrenaline)
Neurotransmitter found in the brain and in the parasympathetic
division of the autonomic nervous system
Chemical released by a neuron onto a target with an excitatory or
inhibitory effect
Outside the CNS, many of these chemicals circulate in the blood
stream as hormones
Structure of Synapses
Electron Microscope
Projects a beam of electrons through a very thin slice of tissue
Varying structure of the tissue scatters the beam onto a reflective
surface where it leaves an image, or shadow, of the tissue
Much better resolution than the light microscope
1950s: Revealed the structure of a synapse for the first time
Synaptic Vesicle
Organelle consisting of a membrane structure that encloses a
quantum of neurotransmitter
Synaptic Cleft
Gap that separates the presynaptic membrane from the
postsynaptic membrane
Chemical Synapse
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