The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology
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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website

The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology

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Lesson 2—Neurons, Brain Chemistry, and Neurotransmission student in a classroom

Teacher's Guide

How Neurotransmission Works Neurotransmitter Actions Neurons in Series

start of page contentDescription of Neurotransmitter Actions

Recording the Activity of a Neuron on an Oscilloscope

The Neurotransmitter Actions simulator allows you to observe the effects that certain solutions have on the activity of a neuron. The simulator has three flasks filled with different solutions, an applicator, and a microelectrode that records the electrical activity of a neuron and sends that information to an oscilloscope. Clicking on a flask fills the applicator with one solution. Clicking on the applicator then bathes the neuron with the solution. The microelectrode on the neuron picks up the neuron’s electrical activity and displays the signals on the oscilloscope.


Saline: Saline causes the activity of the neuron to remain the same.

Glutamate: Glutamate causes the activity of the neuron to speed up.

GABA: GABA causes the activity of the neuron to slow down.