How the Brain Works

Signal substances in the brain

Glutamate is an important signal substance for information intake, information processing, and storage of information into memory. Glutamate is released from the nerve cell presynaptic terminal and affects receptors, a kind of keyhole where glutamate fits, on the receiving nerve cell whereby the signal can be passed to the next nerve cell and further within the cellular networks. The astrocytes, whose processes surround the synapses, take care of glutamate as soon as it has exerted its effect, and thus clear the synapse to allow new signals to pass.

Other signaling agents are GABA, dopamine, histamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. In addition, there are a large number of peptides, hormones, and cytokines, all of which are important for the functioning of the nervous system.