DON W. FAWCETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DON W. FAWCETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nerve synapses. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the junctions between a nerve cell (yellow) and a muscle fibre (red). Such junctions are known as synapses. The nerve cell (motor neuron) ends in a group of pads called end plates. The end plate holds neurotransmitter chemicals. When activated, the end plate releases a neurotransmitter, which is taken up by receptors on the muscle's side of the synapse. This makes the muscle contract. In neuromuscular synapses such as this, the neurotransmitter is the chemical acetylcholine.
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