Non-Hormone Signaling and Nerve Transmission

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    There are other ways that cells can communicate with each other that don’t involve hormones, and I want to say a few words about those. Well, we all know of course of nerve transmission. Nerve transmission is a way for one part of the body to talk to another part of the body. They have all specialized nerve cells that use ion gradients and neurotransmitter molecules to transmit information like, “Hey dummy, you’ve got your finger in the flame, get the finger out of the flame." That goes from the end of my finger into my brain and happens almost instantaneously. This process can be blocked by ion channel blocking molecules. And these often have medicinal purposes, for example, people who have irregular heartbeats, maybe have part of their ion channels within their heart blocked by ion channel blocking proteins to slow down that arrhythmic process. Another type of non-hormone signaling that happens inside the body is that done by the prostanoids, or more commonly called the prostaglandins. These molecules are derived from arachidonic acid and you can see two of them shown in the figure on the right. They’re derived from arachidonic acid which is a 20 carbon molecule and they exert their effects near where they’re released. They don’t travel very far because they’re fairly unstable. There’s a related group of prostaglandin molecules called the prostacyclins and another more distantly related group of molecules called the thromboxanes. And they all have different effects. The synthesis of all the prostanoids however, can be inhibited by steroids. These steroids include hormones like prednisolone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen. Now, what are they doing? Well the prostaglandins for example are involved in pain responses, among other effects that they have. So when you think of a pain killer, what...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Non-Hormone Signaling and Nerve Transmission by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Hormones and Signal Transduction. It contains the following chapters:

    • Non-Homone Signaling
    • Nerve Transmission

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. They can be much more rapid than hormone signaling methods.
    2. They include nerve transmission and protein degradation.
    3. They require cells to expand.
    4. All of the answers are true.
    5. None of the answers are true.
    1. It involves changes in ion gradients.
    2. It starts with potassium gates opening.
    3. It has the cell with low sodium outside to start.
    4. All of the answers are true.
    5. None of the answers are true.

    Author of lecture Non-Hormone Signaling and Nerve Transmission

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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