As described, does the previous experiment conclusively prove that the second frog's heart slowed as a result of something released by the vagus nerves? If you were Loewi, what control experiment would you do to rule out alternative explanations?
Following Loewi's work, the idea of electrical communication between cells fell into disrepute. Now, however, we realize that some neurons, neuroglia, and cardiac and single-unit smooth muscle (see chapter 11) do indeed have electrical synapses, where adjacent cells are joined by gap junctions and ions can diffuse directly from one cell into the next. These junctions have the advantage of quick transmission because there is no delay for the release and binding of neurotransmitter. Their disadvantage, however, is that they cannot integrate information and make decisions. The ability to do that is a property of chemical synapses, in which neurons communicate by neurotransmitters.
Was this article helpful?
This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.