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.
Some of the neurotransmitters available in the body and their location are as follows:
|Acetylcholine (Ach)||Throughout the nervous system and neuromuscular junctions||Plays important role in muscle action, learning and memory|
|Dopamine (DA)||Brain||Involved in movement attention and learning.|
|Endorphins||Brain, spinal cord||Supress pain, boost pleasure, and resulting in the feeling of well-being.|
|Serotonin||Brain, spinal cord||Regulates sleeping, eating, mood, and arousal.|
|Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)||Brain, spinal cord||Plays a role in eating, agression, and sleeping.|
|Glycine (Gly)||Brain, spinal cord||Plays a role in various motor and sensory functions.|
|Glutamate||Brain, spinal cord||Plays an important role in learning and memory|
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.
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) 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 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 have a similar chemical structure to the painkillers, such as morphine. It helps the brain to deal with the pain and elevate the mood.