Updated: 5/18/2017

Neurotransmitters

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  • A 26-year-old female patient presents to her physician due to chronic fatigue. Upon further questioning, the patient reports that she no longer enjoys seeing her younger cousins, something that has brought her great happiness in the past. She has lost 10 pounds over the past month, which she attributes to her decreased appetite. She says that it has been very difficult for her to concentrate lately, is unable to sleep, and finds it difficult to get out of bed due to feeling "drained." (Major depressive disorder)
Overview
 
Neurotransmitter Site of Synthesis ↑ in Disease
↓ in Disease
Comments
Acetylcholine (ACh)
  • Basal nucleus of Meynert
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Involved in learning and memory in the central nervous system (CNS)
  • All motor neurons to skeletal muscles use ACh
  • All preganglionic neurons use ACh at the ganglion of the parasympathetic and sympathetic system
  • Postganglionic parasympathetic fibers use ACh
  • Presynaptic neurons of the adrenal medulla use ACh
Dopamine
  • Ventral tegmentum
  • Substantia Nigra pars compacta
  • Arcuate nucleus (tubuloinfundibular pathway)
  • Huntington's disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Depression
  • Also known as prolactin-inhibiting factor
    • antipsychotics (dopamine antagonists) can lead to increased prolactin secretion → galactorrhea and amenorrhea
  • Involved in movement and working memory
  • Involved in addiction
γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)
  • Nucleus accumbens

-

  • Huntington's disease
  • Anxiety 
  • Major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain
    • glycine is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the spinal cord
  • Benzodiazepines act on GABA receptors to enhance GABA activity
Norepinephrine (NE)
  • Locus ceruleus
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Involved in mood control and sleep-wake cycle
  • Postganglionic sympathetic fibers release NE
    • important for maintaining blood pressure
Serotonin (5-HT)
  • Raphe nucleus
-
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective in treating depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • secondary to high levels of sertonin (e.g., MAO inhibitor + SSRI)
 
 

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Questions (3)
Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Volume  
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Urine  
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2
Calculator

(M1.NE.73) A 31-year-old man presents to his primary care physician endorsing three months of decreased sleep. He reports an inability to fall asleep; although once asleep, he generally sleeps through the night and wakes up at a desired time. He has instituted sleep hygiene measures, but this has not helped. He has not felt anxious or depressed and is otherwise healthy. You prescribe him a medication that has the potential side effect of priapism. From which of the following locations is the neurotransmitter affected by this medication released? Review Topic

QID: 106587
1

Substantia nigra

10%

(8/78)

2

Raphe nucleus

55%

(43/78)

3

Locus ceruleus

13%

(10/78)

4

Nucleus accumbens

13%

(10/78)

5

Posterior pituitary

5%

(4/78)

M1

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