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Tell a ‘story’ by describing how a neuronal impulse creates a cascade of events to occur within the neuron and between neurons. Imagine that you are explaining how neuronal activation occurs, and what the step-by-step processes are, as you would, to a fellow nurse practitioner that has not specialized in psychiatric nursing but is familiar with medical/biology terminology.

Concepts/words that must be incorporated and explained throughout your ‘story’ includes:

  • Neurotransmitter
  • Synaptic Cleft
  • Receiving Neuron
  • Signal Transduction Cascade
  • Voltage-gated and Ligand-ion channels
  • G-protein-linked Receptor
  • Agonist, Partial Agonist, Antagonist, and Inverse Agonist and their Role in Signal Transduction








The nervous system is comprised of over 100 billion cells referred to as neurons (Snyder et al., 2018). A neuron includes a cell in the nervous system whose role is to receive and transmit information, each cell fires off approximately 5-50 messages per second. This activity permits an individual to process their environment, sustain balance, and move the muscles. For instance, when one touches a hot item, information travels from the fingertips to the brain, sending information to the fingertips and alerting it to move away, the action-response process is swift. This process occurs in subsequent steps that include the action potential (along with the cell) and neurotransmitters (between cells). The action potential happens when a neuron transmits a message down an axon, far from the body cell (Fillafer et al., 2018). Neurotransmitters refer to chemical messengers sending a message from nerve cells across the synaptic cleft to a target cell (Spitzer, 2017). The target cell is another nerve cell, gland cell, or a muscle cell. The signal-transduction occurs through the following processes.

a)     The reception when a cell acknowledges a signalling molecule (message) outside the cell. The molecules move into or out of a cell through the ion channels. Ion channels can be ligand-gated ion which opens when the chemical ligand connects to a protein or voltage channel which opens and closes in reaction to the variations in membrane potential (Drukarch et al., 2018).

b)     Transduction where the signaling molecule merges with the receptor changing the G-protein-linked Receptor in some way. This process can occur as partial agonists, antagonists, agonists, and inverse agonists (Fillafer et al., 2018). Partial agonists attach and activate a receptor but are unable to produce the maximum reaction offered by full agonists. Antagonists connect to the synaptic receptor but reduce the impact of the neurotransmitter. Further, agonists include substances biding to synaptic receptors and elevate the effects of the neurotransmitter. Lastly, the inverse agonist binds to a similar receptor as an agonist but generates a pharmacological reaction opposite to the agonist.

c)     Response. The signal stimulates a particular cellular reaction.

















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