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In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity.Since memories are postulated to be represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory (see Hebbian theory).When there is a change in voltage in the terminal bouton, voltage-gated calcium channels embedded in the membranes of these boutons become activated.These allow Ca2 ions to diffuse through these channels and bind with synaptic vesicles within the terminal boutons.
Nevertheless, as more voltage-gated K channels become inactivated, the membrane potential recovers to its normal resting steady state..
Neurons are diverse with respect to morphology and function.
Thus, not all neurons correspond to the stereotypical motor neuron with dendrites and myelinated axons that conduct action potentials.
Metabotropic receptors on the other hand activate second messenger cascade systems that result in the opening of ion channel located some place else on the same postsynaptic membrane.
Although slower than ionotropic receptors that function as on-and-off switches, metabotropic receptors have the advantage of changing the cell's responsiveness to ions and other metabolites, examples being gamma amino-butyric acid (inhibitory transmitter), glutamic acid (excitatory transmitter), dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, melanin, serotonin, melatonin, and substance P.