SYNAPSE ANATOMYSynapse is a connection between the axon terminal, the presynaptic neuron, and the dendrite of the presynaptic neuron. This connection is purely functional and is part of the nerve communication process.
SYNAPSE STRUCTUREThe axon terminal is characterized the vast amount of mitochondria and synaptic vesicles. This is located at the distal end of the presynaptic neuron which is at the end of the neuron. Synaptic vesicles house a neurotransmitter chemical. The most common type of neurotransmitter chemical would be acetylcholine.
When stimulated into an action, or action potential, the synaptic vesicles respond by releasing the chemical into the synaptic cleft. The synaptic cleft is a tiny fissure which segregates the presnaptic and postsynaptic membranes. If an adequate quantity of nerve impulses transpires in a short time period, enough neurotransmitter will build up inside the synaptic cleft to rouse the postsynaptic neuron to depolarize.
SYNAPSE FUNCTIONSThe synaptic cleft houses enzymes which are responsible for the decomposition of neurotransmitters. In order to clear out the expired neurotransmitter and prepare the synapse to receive additional neurotransmitters, enzymes such as acetylcholine are housed within the cleft and released for destruction.