The Neuromuscular Junction as a Model Chemical Synapse

The best understood chemical synapse is that between a motor neuron and a muscle cell. This synapse is given the special name neuromuscular junction (also sometimes called the myoneuraljunction). Although the fine details may differ somewhat, the basic scheme that describes the neuromuscular junction applies to all chemical synapses. Therefore, this chapter will concentrate on the characteristics of this special synapse at the output end of the patellar reflex. In the next chapter, we will consider some of the differences between the synapse at the neuromuscular junction and synapses in the central nervous system, such as the synapse between the sensory neuron and motor neuron in the spinal cord in the patellar reflex.

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