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The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Tadzia GrandPré, PhD

Neuron Circuits

Chemical changes along the length of a neuron's cell membrane cause an electrical charge to move in one direction along the length of the cell's axon. Once the signal reaches the end of the axon, it is passed to the next nerve cell either electrically or by a chemical messenger that crosses the synaptic cleft between nerve cells. 

Once the signal reaches the end of the axon (or axon terminal) of a neuron, it must move through the synaptic cleft to the next neuron. At the most common type of synapse, known as a chemical synapse, the impulse triggers the release of chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, from special pockets known as vesicles. 

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Funded by the following grant(s)

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and NIH Office of the Director

The Learning Brain: Interactive Inquiry for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: 5R25DA033006

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454