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Anatomy and Physiology of the Neuromuscular Junction 

Anatomy and Physiology of the Neuromuscular Junction
Chapter:
Anatomy and Physiology of the Neuromuscular Junction
Author(s):

Jun Kimura

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199738687.003.0017
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date: 24 October 2021

This chapter provides a simplified overview of neuromuscular transmissionin preparation for a subsequent, more detailed clinical discussion. The presynaptic ending contains many minute vesicles, each with up to 10,000 ACh molecules. At rest, these vesicles randomly migrate into the junctional cleft, binding to and opening the ACh receptor. This allows an entry of cations into the postsynaptic membrane producing small depolarizations of the muscle fiber or miniature endplate potentials. Depolarization of the presynaptic ending at the axon terminal triggers an influx of calcium, initiating a greatly enhanced and synchronized ACh release, which gives rise to a nonpropagated endplate potential. When it exceeds the excitability threshold of the muscle cell, opening of the voltage-dependent sodium channels causes the generation of an action potential.

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