By Toy, Eugene C. MD
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Additional info for Case Files: Physiology
After Na+ inactivation is removed by repolarization, the membrane remains less excitable than normal during the relative refractory period, during which the delayed rectifier K+ channels are transiently open. The action potential propagates because the depolarization and overshoot in an active region (where voltage-gated Na+ channels are open) spread passively by electrotonic conduction to adjacent regions, depolarizing those regions and triggering the same regenerative sequence when the neighboring Na+ channels are opened by the electrotonically conducted depolarization.
The nicotinic ACh receptor is an ionotropic receptor: a receptor protein that is itself an ion channel. Postsynaptic potentials mediated by a ligand, such as ACh, binding to an inotropic receptor have very brief durations (tens of milliseconds). The duration of the EPP is limited by rapid hydrolysis of ACh by AChE and by diffusion of ACh away from the active zones. At other synapses, such as those utilizing glutamate, dopamine, norepinephrine (NE), serotonin, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), or glycine as a neurotransmitter, active reuptake by high-affinity systems involving Na+ cotransport is also important for removing the neurotransmitter rapidly.
On examination she is found to have dyspnea with audible wheezes and is diagnosed with asthma. The patient is given an inhaled medication (albuterol), which provides immediate relief of the bronchial constrictive symptoms. ◆ ◆ ◆ What autonomic nervous system (ANS) receptor does this medication target? What is the mechanism of action when these receptors are stimulated? What neurotransmitter normally activates these receptors? 48 CASE FILES: PHYSIOLOGY ANSWERS TO CASE 5: AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM Summary: A 12-year-old girl with an acute asthma exacerbation is given albuterol, a β-agonist sympathomimetic agent.