Biochemical Aspects of Transmission at Inhibitory Synapses: The Role of Glycine

  • M. H. Aprison
  • E. C. Daly


The biochemical aspects of the neurophysiology of transmission have been clarified during the years since the late 1950s. Thus, it is interesting to recall that during this period many biochemists became aware for the first time that most neurons in the central nervous system of higher vertebrates do not touch. With the aid of the electron microscope, the neuroanatomists have shown that a space of approximately 200 Å separates the terminal endings of the axon of one neuron and the cellular membranes of the next neuron. This space is called the synaptic cleft and can vary from 100 to 500 Å depending on the tissue and the location; this whole minute region in the nervous system (i.e., the terminal ending of one neuron, the cellular membrane of the second neuron in juxtaposition to the specific nerve ending, and the synaptic cleft) is called a synapse. Various organic compounds can be released from the axonal endings of the presynaptic cell into the synaptic cleft. The compounds which reach and can affect the conductance across the postsynaptic membrane at this region of the synapse in a specific manner are called transmitters and the whole process is called transmission. This latter process is chemical in nature.


Spinal Cord Inhibitory Synapse Central Nervous System Tissue Tetanus Toxin Inhibitory Transmitter 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. Aprison
    • 1
  • E. C. Daly
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Applied and Theoretical Neurobiology, The Institute of Psychiatric Research and Departments of Biochemistry and PsychiatryIndiana University Medical CenterIndianapolisUSA

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