The messenger is not the message; or is it?
This chapter begins by describing neural coding systems (the ‘messages’) thought to take part in information processing in the brain. It then discusses the possible roles played by neurotransmitters in transferring or integrating signals at synapses. Particular emphasis is placed on the complex interplay that can occur between messages and messengers even at the simplest synapses involving a single transmitter and a single receptor subtype. An argument is also made that transmitters are relatively poor indicators of signaling function. It is more appropriate to regard receptors and their associated cellular effects as the primary mediators of information processing in the CNS. Finally, the importance of these interactions are discussed in the context of neurotransmission and neuromodulation.
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