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The function of neurons is to communicate information from one cell to another cell, which they do either by electrical synapse or through chemical synapse. The electrical signals process and conduct information within the neurons, which are highly elongated cells. The electrical impulses that travel along are called action potentials. The chemical synapse is associated with release of neurotransmitter in synaptic cleft in response to stimuli. The electrical synapses ubiquitously present in all nerve cells as functional correlate of gap junctions. The communication between neurons by electrical signal traveling along a cell, translating into chemical pulse between cell and then back into an electrical signal in the receiving cell, is complex and regulated process. The Nernst equation for calculation membrane potential, resting membrane potential, saltatory conduction in myelinated sheath, interaction of chemical and electrical synapses, postsynaptic density assembly, various signaling proteins, receptors, and their function and regulation are discussed in this chapter.
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