Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_3952


Chemical transmitter


Neurotransmitter is a chemical that achieves chemically mediated transmission, a major mode of interneuronal and neuron-effector communication. The chemical should meet several criteria to be recognized as a neurotransmitter. The criteria are: (i) A neurotransmitter must be synthesized in a neuron and released from a presynaptic terminal, (ii) A neurotransmitter should reproduce the specific responses that are evoked by the stimulation of presynaptic neurons at the postsynaptic neuron or effector cells, (iii) The effect of the chemical should be blocked by antagonists in a dose-dependent manner, and (iv) A neurotransmitter must be reabsorbed into the presynaptic neuron or glia, or metabolized into an inactive form by enzymes to terminate the stimulation.



Neurotransmitters transmit information from presynaptic neurons to postsynaptic neurons or peripheral effector cells through the activation of a receptor/channel. The...

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Further reading

  1. 1.
    Deutch AY, Roth RH (2002) Neurotransmitter. In: Squire LR, Bloom FE, McConnel SK, Roberts JL, Spitzer NC, Zigmond MJ (eds) Fundamental neuroscience. Academic, San Diego, pp 163–196Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cooper JR, Bloom FE, Roth RH (2003) Cellular and molecular foundations of neuropharmacology. In: Cooper JR, Bloom FE, Roth RH (eds) The biochemical basis of neuropharmacology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 7–64Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kuba K (2002) Transmission of Excitation. In: Toyoda J, Kumada K, Ozawa S, Fukuda K, Honma K (eds) Standard textbook, Igakushoin, Tokyo, pp 112–136Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and System Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesKyushu University Japan