Other Transmitter Candidates

Other kinds of molecules may also be made within neurons to play auxiliary roles in intercellular transmission in the nervous system—from purines like Adenosine Triphosphate, lipids like ara-chidonic acid and prostaglandins, and steroids similar to those made and released by the adrenal cortex and the gonads. These substances may, in some cases, act as intracellular second messengers to underlie the effects of the aminergic and peptidergic transmitters (see below); they therefore have implicit relevance to the effects of the addictive drugs whether or not they may also serve as primary transmission signals.

Investigators have revealed that under some conditions active neurons may synthesize gaseous signals, such as nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, which can carry rapidly evanescent signals over short distances. The effects of these transmission-related substances will undoubtedly become of increasing importance to the explanations of the mechanisms of action or adaptation to the addictive drugs.

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