Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Neurons, the functional units of the nervous system, connect to each other to form networks. These specialized cells have thin projections called dendrites and axons. Information is usually transmitted by electrical or electrochemical signals from the axon of one neuron to the dendrite of another neuron across a synapse.
Neuroscientists use tools such as antibodies and gene probes to isolate and identify proteins and other molecules relating to the nervous system. Listed below are some of the common targets for molecular recognition:
Neurotransmitters (endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse) - glutamate, aspartate, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, histamine, etc.
Axon Guidance Molecules and Receptors (controls axon growth directions by attracting or repelling growth cones on the tips of axons) - netrins, ephrins, semaphorins, etc.
Neurotrophic Factors (a family of proteins that induce the survival, development, and function of neurons) - neurotrophins, glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor family ligands, neuropoietic cytokines, etc.
Other Targets Relating to Neural Stem Cell Development.
Many diseases are caused by disorders in the nervous system. Listed below are some of the most frequently observed neurological disorders: