Lecture 4 thoughts

In fourth lecture we covered some details of the neurotransmitter systems. Neurotransmitter systems were completely new topic besides the fact of few chemical compounds familiar from high school. It was great surprise how hard it actually is to confirm a certain compound to be a neurotransmitter. A citation from the lecture:

–Needs to be synthesized and stored in the presynaptic neuron

– Needs to be released from the presynaptic axon terminal following stimulation

– Needs to produce a response in the post-synaptic cell.

From the textbook the third criteria was listed as that when compound is experimentally applied it must produce a response. I feel like the statement in the textbook is heavier than the one proposed at the lecture.

The neurotransmitter ionotropic receptors felt very similar as ion channels and ion pumps in the cellular membrane. These ionotropic receptors were thus relatively familiar and easy to read. New thing was the voltage gated NMDA channel which was interesting because if the other channel would be more sensitive wouldn’t this NMDA be useless. The whole advantage of this 2-stage polarisation remains unclear. Continuing into metabotropic receptors, I find it really confusing how large scale effects and how complicated proceduce actually this second messenger cascade is. The reason though is clear that with small stimulation we can achieve huge final effect.