Much of this week’s topic -neurotransmitter systems- were again pretty much just learning a by heart a lot of new names and definitions for different neurotransmitters and related topics. Nice new pieces of information were that for example ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NO (nitric oxide) are thought to be synaptic transmitters. It also helped to broaden the subject a bit; if the molecule is capable of depolarizing the next neuron, it can basically serve as a neurotransmitter. And if these molecules do the job, why not use them. After all, the word neurotransmitter is just another fancy word to describe a molecule with certain function, it doesn’t mean that the molecule itself is fancy at all.
Other nice to know facts: antidepressants work by inhibition of serotonin reuptake, which is the process where a neurotransmitter is removed from the synaptic cleft. It’s pretty crazy that something like depression can be treated by pumping the patient’s body full of reuptake inhibitors. This also brought up another question: what happens in a drug resistant depression, and why is some patient’s body able to resist the drug? Is the reuptake process somewhat different, are for example the molecules involved a somehow mutated etc.