STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Brain synapses. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a section through brain tissue showing a number of synapses. A synapse is a junction between two nerve cells. At a synapse an electrical signal is transmitted from one cell to the next in only one direction. When the signal reaches a synapse it triggers the release of neurotransmitter chemicals from synaptic vesicles (purple) at the end of the presynaptic cell. The neurotransmitters cross a microscopic gap and bind to receptors on the post-synaptic cell, triggering an impulse in that cell. Magnification: 30,000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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