En español
NIDA

The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction

7: The synapse and synaptic neurotransmission

The synapse and synaptic neurotransmission

Describe the synapse and the process of chemical neurotransmission. As an electrical impulse arrives at the terminal, it triggers vesicles containing a neurotransmitter, such as dopamine (in blue), to move toward the terminal membrane. The vesicles fuse with the terminal membrane to release their contents (in this case, dopamine). Once inside the synaptic cleft (the space between the two neurons) the dopamine can bind to specific proteins called dopamine receptors (in pink) on the membrane of a neighboring neuron. This is illustrated in more detail on the next image.

This page was last updated January 2007

NIDA Publications

NIDA Notes: The Latest in Drug Abuse Research

Teaching Packets

Explores the consequences of drug abuse on the brain and body and introduces the topics of prevention, and treatment.