I know that neurons communicate between each other by filling the junction between dendrites with neurotransmitters.

What interests me is if a single neuron only works with one type of neurotransmitter(ex: serotonin), or if it can secrete/receive all of them (serotonin, dopamine, etc).

If a neuron can secrete all, then can all dendrites secrete and respond to all neurotransmitters, or is it one per dendrite (one branch only works with dopamine, another one with serotonin, etc)?

  • $\begingroup$ My knowledge isn't detailed enough for this specifically but as far as I know: each postsynaptic membrane has receptors to one specific neurotransmitter and each terminal only secretes one specific transmitter - which doesn't exclude that other terminals of the same neuron might secrete different transmitters. Once the postsynaptic receptor generates a membrane change from the interaction, it's all just potentials, so a neuron is not limited in number to how many different transmitters it can receive. $\endgroup$ – Armatus Jan 17 '13 at 17:38

I've googled this for a biology class I taught, and the quick answer is that both possibilities happen in different instances. Some specialized neurons secrete more than one type, even though the ruling concept used to be one neurotransmitter for one neuron.

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    $\begingroup$ If you could reference the works in which you read this, it would make for a better answer. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Jan 18 '13 at 1:01

Check this link out, It's a little simplistic but hopefully, will give the info you want so you can search elsewhere.


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