Dr. Kim & Dr. Cadieux
Module 5.6 – Neuroscience I (The Synapse)
Once an action potential travels along an axon, it reaches a terminal end where it can
connect to nearby neurons
This area of connection between the terminal end of neuron A and the receptive zone of
neuron B is called the synapse.
o Communication between neurons occurs here
o Not a direct connection -- instead, special mechanisms exist to transmit signals
The presynaptic neuron contains neurotransmitters, a variety of chemicals found within
small intracellular containers called vesicles.
o As the action potential reaches the terminal ends, some of the vesicles move
toward the cell membrane of the presynaptic neuron
o The vesicles fuse with the membrane of the presynaptic neuron and burst,
spilling neurotransmitter molecules into the extracellular fluid
o There are a variety of different neurotransmitters that may be released, depending
on the location and type of n