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Synapses and the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ)

Last updated on Monday, September 1 2014 by jdmiles

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Section 6:  Synapses and the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ)

Neurons can use electrical potentials to send signals from one part of the neuron to another, but to communicate with other neurons (or muscle cells or other target cells), they usually use chemical signals.  These chemical signals are transmitted across specialized connections between cells called synapses


Information is carried from one part of a neuron to another part of the same neuron by electrical signals, as described above.  But when it comes to communicating with other cells, the information is ususally sent by chemical signals.

Neurons usually receive information from other cells in the form of chemicals called neurotransmitters.  And in turn, and they usually deliver information to other cells by releasing neurotransmitters onto those cells.  

Neurons connect with other cells at structures called synapses.  

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By the end of this section, make certain that you understand what each of these terms mean, and can apply them appropriately.  If applicable, make sure you can find each item on a whole brain, brain section, or image of a brain.

  • Reuptake
  • Synapse
  • Neuromuscular Junction
  • Presynaptic
  • Postsynaptic
  • Terminal bouton
  • Synaptic cleft
  • Acetylcholine
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Gap junctions
  • Motor unit


Section 1:  Cells are Batteries

Section 2:  Why Are Cells Batteries?

Section 3:  Meat Wires

Section 4:  The Neuron Action Potential

Section 5:  Muscle Fiber Action Potential

Section 6:  Synapses and the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ) 


If you have any questions regarding this section, please ask them in the Neuroanatomy User Forum, or in the comments section at the bottom of this page.