Chemical synapse

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noun, plural: chemical synapses

A specialized cell-to-cell junction where nerve impulse is transmitted in one direction, from one neuron to another or from a neuron to a non-neuronal cell.


Through chemical synapse, a neuron can connect and affect a target cell, which can be another neuron, or a non-neuronal cell such as muscle or gland cell. A neuromuscular junction for instance is a special synapse between a motor neuron and a muscle cell`. In this synapse, the signal is passed along with the release of neurotransmitter by the motor neuron which leads to a cascade of physiologic reactions that ultimately cause the muscle cell to contract.

Aside from chemical synapse, other types of biological synapses are electrical synapse and immunological synapse.

See also: synapse.