SIGRID GOMBERT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIGRID GOMBERT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Computer artwork of a synapse, the junction between nerve cells. Synapses transmit electrical signals from one nerve cell to the next. When the signal reaches the synapse it triggers the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters (small circles, centre) from vesicles (semi-circular, centre left) in the terminal swelling of the presynaptic cell (blue, left). The neurotransmitters cross a microscopic gap called the synaptic cleft and pass through channels (purple) into the receptor nerve cell (blue, right), where they trigger an electrical impulse.
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