Neurotransmitters and behavior

Scientists have identified several chemical substances at synapses in the nervous system and the junction between nerves and the muscles. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are essential for maintaining vital brain and bodily functions, and their excess or deficiency can produce several behavioral disorders.

Neurotransmitters and behavior
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Some of the neurotransmitters available in the body and their location are as follows:

NameLocationFunctions
Acetylcholine (Ach)Throughout the nervous system and neuromuscular junctionsPlays important role in muscle action, learning and memory
Dopamine (DA)BrainInvolved in movement attention and learning.
EndorphinsBrain, spinal cordSupress pain, boost pleasure, and resulting in the feeling of well-being.
SerotoninBrain, spinal cordRegulates sleeping, eating, mood, and arousal.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)Brain, spinal cordPlays a role in eating, agression, and sleeping.
Glycine (Gly)Brain, spinal cordPlays a role in various motor and sensory functions.
GlutamateBrain, spinal cordPlays an important role in learning and memory

Major Neurotransmitters:

Acetylcholine (ACh)

Acetylcholine (ACh) is perhaps the most well-known neurotransmitters. It is found throughout the nervous system and essential in muscle movement and cognitive functioning. The deficiency of acetylcholine might also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Glutamate

The excitatory neurotransmitter, the glutamate plays a role in memory. Memories appear to be produced by specific biochemical changes at particular synapses, and glutamate, along with other neurotransmitters, plays an important role in the process. (Riedel, Platt, & Micheau, 2003; Winters & Bussey, 2005; Micheau & Marighetto, 2011).

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

Found in both brain and the spinal cord, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) moderates a variety of behaviors, like eating, aggression, and sleeping.

Dopamine (DA)

Dopamine (DA) plays a crucial role in movement, attention, and learning. The deficiency of dopamine in the brain causes Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, the overproduction of dopamine causes schizophrenia and other mental disturbances.

Serotonin

Serotonin is associated with the regulation of sleep, eating, and pain. The serotonin also plays a key role in mood regulation, and the low serotonin levels have been linked to depression.

Endorphins

Endorphins have a similar chemical structure to the painkillers, such as morphine. It helps the brain to deal with the pain and elevate the mood.