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Obviously neural signals travel at extremely high speeds, but I'm wondering how much that speed is affected by the release and binding time of neurotransmitters.

If my sources are correct, a well myelinated axon generates an action potential with a speed of roughly 119.807 m/s. How much does the speed of neurotransmitter release by the presynaptic neuron and binding to the postsynaptic neuron's receptors impact that speed? In other words, I am wondering how much the total speed of a neural signal from one neuron to another is affected by the time it takes for the first neuron to release neurotransmitters and the second neuron to receive the neurotransmitters and propagate an action potential within its own cell.

I assume it takes at least some time, but exactly how much does it slow the signal down?

Thank you for your answers.

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It seems to depend on the size of the neurotransmitter. The bigger the neurotransmitter is the longer the neuron has to be stimulated to actually release the neurotransmitter. But in the case of Acetylcholine it seems to need only about 2ms after a presynaptic stimulus to generate a postsynaptic membrane potential and after about 5ms all the Acetylcholine in the synaptic gap is cleaved allowing the postsynaptic cell to repolarize. The example get described here.

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  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "cleaved"? $\endgroup$ – DJG Aug 23 '17 at 5:05

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