CIE IGCSE Biology: 复习笔记:14.1.4 The Synapse

CIE IGCSE Biology: 复习笔记:14.1.4 The Synapse

Structure of a Synapse: Extended


  • The junction between two neurones is known as a synapse


A synapse, IGCSE & GCSE Biology revision notesA synapse



Synapses & Neurotransmitters: Extended



  • Neurones never touch each other
  • The junctions (gaps) in between them are called synapses
  • The electrical impulse travels along the first axon
  • This triggers the nerve-ending of the presynaptic neurone to release chemical messengers called neurotransmitters from vesicles which fuse with the presynaptic membrane
  • The neurotransmitters diffuse across the synaptic gap (or cleft) and bind with receptor molecules on the membrane of the second neurone (known as the postsynaptic membrane)
  • This stimulates the second neurone to generate an electrical impulse that travels down the second axon
  • The neurotransmitters are then destroyed to prevent continued stimulation of the second neurone which would cause repeated impulses to be sent
  • Synapses ensure that impulses only travel in one direction, avoiding confusion within the nervous system if impulses were travelling in both directions
  • As this is the only part of the nervous system where messages are chemical as opposed to electrical, it is the only place where drugs can act to affect the nervous system - eg. this is where heroin works


How-an-impulse-is-passed-on-at-a-synapseHow an impulse is passed on at a synapse



Exam Tip

For maximum marks you will need to be able to understand the structure and functioning of a synapse and explain what happens at each step.