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Metabotropic receptors on the other hand activate second messenger cascade systems that result in the opening of ion channel located some place else on the same postsynaptic membrane.Although slower than ionotropic receptors that function as on-and-off switches, metabotropic receptors have the advantage of changing the cell's responsiveness to ions and other metabolites, examples being gamma amino-butyric acid (inhibitory transmitter), glutamic acid (excitatory transmitter), dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, melanin, serotonin, melatonin, and substance P.Cellular neuroscience is the study of neurons at a cellular level.This includes morphology and physiological properties of single neurons.

Opening of NMDA channels (which relates to the level of cellular depolarization) leads to a rise in post-synaptic Ca2 concentration and this has been linked to long-term potentiation, LTP (as well as to protein kinase activation); strong depolarization of the post-synaptic cell completely displaces the magnesium ions that block NMDA ion channels and allows calcium ions to enter a cell – probably causing LTP, while weaker depolarization only partially displaces the Mg2 ions, resulting in less Ca2 entering the post-synaptic neuron and lower intracellular Ca2 concentrations (which activate protein phosphatases and induce long-term depression, LTD).

An action potential can be divided into several sequential phases: threshold, rising phase, falling phase, undershoot phase, and recovery.

Following several local graded depolarizations of the membrane potential, the threshold of excitation is reached, voltage-gated sodium channels are activated, which leads to an influx of Na ions.

In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity.

Since memories are postulated to be represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory (see Hebbian theory).

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