Neurotransmitters and the Hippocampus

  • Donald W. Straughan


There are substantial reasons for believing that the majority of the transmissions across synapses in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) are chemically and not electrically mediated. Thus a variety of substances are present in the CNS of mammals which are known to be transmitters either in the mammalian peripheral nervous system or in the nervous system of invertebrates. These substances include norepinephrine (NE), dopamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), acetylcholine (ACh), and the amino acids γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, and are located to a substantial extent in nerve endings and often within a vesicular fraction. Additionally, under the electron microscope, “gap,” “tight,” or “close” junctions are relatively uncommon, and the morphological features of central synapses closely resemble those in the periphery, where chemical transmission is known to occur. Chemical rather than electrical synaptic transmission is required in the presence of small nerve endings and restricted synaptic area. Also, chemical transmission explains the characteristic occurrence of “synaptic delays” in the mammalian CNS. However, electrotonic transmission appears to occur occasionally in 10% of the cells in the mesencephalic nucleus of the Vth cranial nerve (Baker and Llinas, 1971) and in giant neurons of the lateral vestibular nucleus of the rat (Korn et al., 1973).


Olfactory Bulb Pyramidal Cell Stratum Radiatum Inhibitory Transmitter Hippocampal Pyramidal Cell 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. Straughan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyThe School of PharmacyLondonEngland

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