Presynaptic and Postsynaptic Receptors

  • Robert D. Grubbs

Receptor Classification Schemes: Anatomic, Pharmacologic, and Structural/Mechanistic

Classification of cell signaling receptors has evolved in stages as the technology available for differentiating them has improved. The earliest classification systems were anatomic, based on the location of specific types of receptors in various tissues. Examples include somatic or autonomic, parasympathetic or sympathetic, and postsynaptic or presynaptic (e.g., having the receptor on the nerve terminal or dendrite and serving neuromodulatory function) classification systems.

The pharmacologic classification of receptors has been developing since the late 1800 s, when the first transmitter substances were isolated and chemically characterized. Using this scheme, receptors are classified according to transmitter groups and their response to drugs. Receptors that respond to the catecholamines (e.g., dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine) are known as catecholaminergic or sometimes “adrenergic”...


Muscarinic Receptor GABAA Receptor Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Nicotinic Receptor Motion Sickness 
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This chapter incorporates material from the chapter “Pre-synaptic Receptors” authored by the late Dr. David K. Sundberg in the first edition of this work.

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Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Grubbs
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, School of MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyBoonshoft School of MedicineDaytonUSA

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