ANIMATED HEALTHCARE LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANIMATED HEALTHCARE LTD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Action of a beta blocker drug on nerve synapses, artwork. Beta blockers are used to treat cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeats) and hypertension (high blood pressure). Synapses are the junctions between any two nerves. The drug (yellow spheres) works as a beta-receptor antagonist at the synapses. It blocks some of the receptors (shown as indentations) that enable the neurotransmitter adrenaline (epinephrine, blue spheres) to be passed on from the presynaptic cell (top) to the postsynaptic cell downstream (bottom). Too much adrenaline increases the rate and intensity of cardiac muscle contractions, straining the heart.
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