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Mechanisms of Drug Action

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Bruce Mc Kay

September 23 Class 4 Mechanisms of drug action Psychoactive drugs modify synaptic transmission Information is transmitted in 2 ways by neurons 1 Action potentialselectrical signals that transmit information WITHIN a single neuron eg from one end of the neuron to the other end electrical signals propagate forwards down the axon into the synaptic terminals synapses transmit information between neurons at the terminal a chemical message is released this is how the information is transferred and the drugs we discuss work at that level a drugs target the following 4 i drug stimulates postsynaptic receptorsii drug blocks postsynaptic receptors iii drug inhibits NT degradationiv drug blocks reuptakeb those are the most important processes for understanding psychoactive drugsc most drugs will have an effect by simply mimicking a chemical that is already present2Synaptic transmissionchemical signals that transmit information BETWEEN neuronsThe proteins that underlie action potentials and synaptic transmission are the DIRECT targets of psychoactive drugsSLIDE 78 TABLEGraph drug molecular often mimics the molecular structure of an endogenous neurotransmitter if they do not match up they do not work of they do there is an effect DA and Norepinephrine that already exist in the brain are very similar to molecular structures of MDMA Ephedrine methamphetamine or amphetamine Seven major neurotransmitters and receptors dopaminecocainetobaccoacetylcholine Norepinephrine GABAalcohol Serotonin Glutamate
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