IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

need list of neurochemicals and their electrical properties

Hannah Dvorak-Carbone hdvorak at cns.caltech.edu
Mon Nov 24 20:46:42 EST 1997

In article <65cpdf$5ls at proxye1.maine.rr.com>, writer at maine.rr.com says...
>I'm writing a work of fiction and have been having difficulty with a bit of
>research for the story.
>Could somebody give me a list (or tell me where to find a list) of the
>neurochemicals that fire or suppress the firing of neurons as well as
>measurements of these chemicals' various electrical conductivity properties.

Sounds like what you're looking for, if I understand you correctly, is a list 
of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters do not 
directly cause neurons to fire (or not fire).  Instead, they activate (either 
directly, or indirectly via a biochemical signaling cascade in the neuron) ion 
channels in the neuronal cell membrane.  These channels then allow current to 
flow across the membrane, either depolarizing the cell (thus bringing it 
closer to its threshold for firing) or hyperpolarizing it (thus making it less 
likely to fire).  (Yes, I know this is an oversimplification.  No flames, 

How comprehensive a list do you want?  (And for what organism?  There's quite 
a bit of difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.)  In vertebrates, 
the major neurotransmitters include glutamate (generally excitatory) and GABA 
(generally inhibitory), plus acetylcholine, serotonin, norepinephrine, etc., 
all of whose effects vary greatly depending on the type of neuron they're 
acting on.  Then there are all the neuromodulators...

Any fundamental neuro text can give you more details.

>(I don't know the medical term (or academic/scientific term) for "chemical
>electrical conductivity" so I would appreciate somebody telling me what that
>term is as well.)

I'm not exactly sure what you're looking for.  Perhaps, the conductance of the 
ion channels that are activated by the neurotransmitters?

- Hannah Dvorak-Carbone

Hannah Dvorak-Carbone
Division of Biology 216-76
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net