Meaning of Synapse

What is Synapse:

The synapse is the way neurons communicate and organize and the divisions of the nervous system.

Synapses occur in the cortex of the brain where nerve cells or also called neurons are located. The functional connection between a neuron and a second cell is called a synapse.

The synapse in the Central Nervous System is the communication between one neuron and another neuron, instead, in the system peripheral nervous Information transmission occurs between a neuron and an effector cell in a muscle or gland.

Synapses allow the information that a neuron transmits to be filtered and integrated and are characterized by being a transmission that goes in only one direction. To differentiate between the transmitter and the receiver of the signal, the neuron that sends the signal is called as presynaptic neuron and the one that receives the signal as postsynaptic neuron.

See also Neuron.

Synapse types

Neurons can be connected by the axon or extension of a thin nerve fiber of the neuron, by the dendrites or ramifications that neurons create forming networks between cells, or by the cell body or soma of the neuron.

exist three types of synapse depending on the point of connection of the neurons:

  1. axodendritic: axon to dendrites.
  2. axosomatic: axon to the soma or cell body of the neuron.
  3. axoaxonic: from axon to axon.

Synapses can also be differentiated into two types according to their structural and functional physiognomy in electrical synapses and chemical synapses.

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electrical synapse

Electrical synapses have two fundamental advantages. The first is that because it is direct communication it is fast and almost immediate and the second is synchronization, that is, information is spread through interconnections controlling groups of neurons or eye fibers.

In the electrical synapse, the action potentials or impulses of the neurons are transmitted directly by the gap gap connections that are the intercellular junctions.

Each gap junction contains tubular connections that are transmembrane proteins called connexins. Connexins are what allow the union of two cells for the electrical synapse.

chemical synapse

The chemical synapse is slower because the cells are separated by a gap or synaptic cleft, that is, they do not touch. In order for the signal from the presynaptic neuron to be received through the synaptic cleft, it must convert the electrical signal or nerve impulse into a chemical signal. The chemical signal is transmitted through a neurotransmitter that diffuses through the synaptic cleft fluid, binding to specific receptors on the postsynaptic membrane.

The postsynaptic neuron receives the chemical signal, that is, the released neurotransmitter, and converts it back into an electrical signal in the form of a postsynaptic potential.