Third week: Neurotransmitter system
The main topic for this week was Neurotransmitter systems that seems to be critical for deeper understanding of chemical synaptic transmission.
The course’s book starts consideration of the topic from the definition of neurotransmitter as a molecule and most prominent methods of identifying these molecules that I think is a perfect introduction into the field of concentration. Then, the book pointed out different types of receptors, which are categorized based on the specific agonists. This part was interesting for me to read, because the receptors are also used in studying neurotransmitters in the laboratory as they bind to specific types of receptors. From my perspective, it is important to be able to recognize a neurotransmitter from many other molecules in the human body, not only because there can be thousands of different neurotransmitters each of which plays crucial role in the brain, but also there are many other chemicals that support neurotransmitters functioning.
As I noticed, the most common way of classification of neurotransmitters is by their chemical structure, but they are differentiated by their functions as well. So, the question that immediately appeared in my mind is “In order to become a neuroscientist, do I need to remember all of these complex chemical structures of different neurotransmitters or it is enough to be able to operate with just general classes of neurotransmitters?”