last updated 25-05-2024

Cholinergic synapse

Cholinergic synapse

This graphic shows an example of a synapse of a cholinergic neuron. A cholinergic neuron uses acetylcholine as neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is synthesized by the choline acetyltransferase enzyme from AcetylCoA and recycled choline. Acetylcholine is then stored in the axon for release. There are 4 different acetylcholine receptors subtypes identified.

Nicotinic receptors and three diverse muscarinic receptors. (Although only the two muscarinic receptors thought to be present in the brain are shown in the graphic). Unlike the monoamines, acetylcholine is rapidly metabolized by acetylcholinesterase in the synapse. The choline product is then transported back into the presynaptic cell for synthesis into acetylcholine. The stimulation of the different receptors also results in a different effect.


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