– What is the glutamate system, what is its function and how does it work?

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The brain has a glutamate system. All the reading I’ve done is in complex biology speak and I struggle to understand it. Can someone please ELI5? Thanks!

In: Biology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

glutamate serves as a neurotransmitter, or signaling molecule, in the brain. It is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter, meaning that it causes brain pathways to “activate”

it works alongside GABA, which is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter (it inactivates brain pathways)

Glutamate and GABA work together to maintain the proper brain balance for a functioning brain. When the it falls out of balance (too much excitation or too little inhibition), a seizure may occur

Anonymous 0 Comments

Glutamate is a type of molecule called an amino acid. Amino acids are what proteins are made of, but they can also serve other functions. Some parts of your brain use glutamate as a neurotransmitter, a molecule that one nerve cell uses to send messages to another nerve cell. Generally, at any junction between two nerve cells one cell will be the transmitter and another will be the receiver. The transmitting cell will have little bubbles filled with glutamate held just below the surface. When an electrical signal comes down the nerve and reaches the end, those bubbles will fuse with the skin of the nerve and release the glutamate in a little puff. The receiver cell has proteins on the outside called receptors, which have a little pocket just the right size and shape for glutamate to bind. When glutamate binds in the pocket, the protein on the receptor cell will produce a little electrical signal of its own that will travel down its length to carry the signal along.