STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nerve synapse. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of the neuron (nerve) terminal at a synapse in the diaphragm. A synapse is a gap between a nerve and another cell (in this case, muscle) that allows the transmission of nerve impulses. A nerve ending in a terminal bouton (red) will contain vesicles (blue dots) of neurotransmitter chemicals. During the transmission of an impulse, the vesicles release the neurotransmitter into the gap, which is taken up by receptors on the other side. This leads to the formation of an impulse in the second cell, and so the information is passed on. When a muscle cell is receiving an impulse, calcium is also released, which causes a muscle contraction.
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