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Properties of Synapse. Dr Ghulam Mustafa. Learning objective’s. Discuss the properties of synapse Or Describe the factors affecting synaptic transmission. Decrement of Electrotonic Conduction in the Dendrites. Dales Law. Only one type of neurotransmitter in released at one synapse

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Properties of Synapse

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Properties of synapse

Properties of Synapse

Dr Ghulam Mustafa

Learning objective s

Learning objective’s

Discuss the properties of synapse


Describe the factors affecting synaptic transmission

Decrement of electrotonic conduction in the dendrites

Decrement of Electrotonic Conduction in the Dendrites

Dales law

Dales Law

  • Only one type of neurotransmitter in released at one synapse



One way conduction

One-way conduction

  • Synapses generally permit conduction of impulses in one-way i.e.

    • from pre-synaptic to

    • post-synaptic neuron.

Spatial summation in neurons

Spatial Summation in Neurons

  • Excitation of a single presynaptic terminal??

    • 0.5 to 1 millivolt

  • 10 to 20 millivolts - required to reach threshold

  • Many presynaptic terminals are usually stimulated at the same time.

  • Add to one another until neuronal excitation

  • Spatial summation

    • Summing simultaneous postsynaptic potentials by activating multiple terminals on widely spaced areas of the neuronal membrane

Temporal summation

Temporal Summation

  • A presynaptic terminal fire

    • changed postsynaptic potential

    • lasts up to 15 milliseconds

  • Second opening of the same channels -increase the postsynaptic potential to - still greater level

  • Successive dischargesfrom a single presynaptic terminal

  • Rapid enough- add to one another

  • This type of summation is called Temporal summation.

Facilitation of neurons

Facilitation of Neurons

  • If the summated postsynaptic potential is excitatory………….

  • But has not risen high enough to reach the threshold

  • The neuron is said to be facilitated.

  • Another excitatory signal - excite the neuron very easily

Fatigue of synaptic transmission

Fatigue of Synaptic Transmission.

  • When excitatory synapses are repetitively stimulated at a rapid rate

  • Number of discharges by the postsynaptic neuron is at first very great

  • But the firing rate becomes progressively less in succeeding milliseconds or seconds.

  • Fatigue of synaptic transmission.

  • Protective mechanism

    • Against excess neuronal activity

      • Prevent over excitation

Mechanism of fatigue

Mechanism Of Fatigue

  • Exhaustion or partial exhaustion of the stores of transmitter substance

  • Progressive inactivation of many of the postsynaptic membrane receptors

  • Slow development of abnormal conc. of ions inside the postsynaptic neuronal cell

Effect of acidosis or alkalosis on synaptic transmission

Effect of Acidosis or Alkalosis on Synaptic Transmission.

  • Neurons are highly responsive to changes in pH

  • Alkalosis greatly increases neuronal excitability

    • 8.0 often causes cerebral epileptic seizures

  • Acidosis greatly depresses neuronal activity;

    • a fall in pH from 7.4 to below 7.0

    • Severe diabetic or uremic acidosis,

    • Coma

Effect of hypoxia

Effect of Hypoxia

  • Neuronal excitability is also highly dependent on an adequate supply of oxygen.

  • Cessation of oxygen for only a few seconds can cause complete inexcitability of some neurons

    • If Brain’s blood flow is temporarily interrupted,

    • Within 3 to 7 seconds, the person becomes unconscious.

Effect of drugs

Effect of Drugs


  • Caffeine, Theophylline, and Theobromine,

    • found in coffee, tea, and cocoa

  • By reducing the threshold for excitation of neurons.

  • Strychnine inhibits the action of someinhibitory transmitter substances


  • Most Anesthetics increase the neuronal membrane threshold for excitation

Properties of synapse

Synaptic delayIs the minimum time required for transmission across the synapsethe synaptic delay 0.5 millisecond.

This time is taken by

  • Discharge of transmitter substance by pre-synaptic terminal

  • Diffusion of transmitter to post-synaptic membrane

  • Action of transmitter on its receptor

  • Action of transmitter to  membrane permeability

  • Increased diffusion of Na+ to  post-synaptic potential


When many

pre-synaptic neurons

converge on

any single

post-synaptic neuron



Axons of most

pre-synaptic neurons divide into many branches that diverge

to end on many post-synaptic neurons.


Properties of synapse1

Properties of synapse

  • Dales Law

  • One-way conduction

  • Summation in Neurons

  • Facilitation of Neurons

  • Fatigue of Synaptic Transmission

  • Effect of Acidosis or Alkalosis on Synaptic Transmission

  • Effect of Hypoxia & Drugs

  • Synaptic delay

  • Convergence & Divergence

Properties of synapse

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