Independent Study

Document Type


Publication Date



Donald Dosch, PhD; Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy


neurotransmitter, brain, neurobiology, dopamine, acetylcholine, Parkinson's Disease, long-term potentiation, glutamate, serotonin


Arguably the most important and powerful organ in the human body, the brain controls virtually everything one does. From chewing gum to running a marathon, the brain dictates one’s physical responses and actions, while also mediating learning, memory, and emotions. These functions are all regulated by neurotransmitter activity in the brain. While the brain works in complex ways, recent discoveries about neurotransmitters allow us to better understand the underlying mechanisms of brain operation. Each neurotransmitter fulfills a distinct role, but they rely on one another to perform certain activities in the brain as well. The purpose of this review is to examine the roles of four of the major neurotransmitters (dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and glutamate) and the interactions that lead to the formation of Parkinson’s Disease and long-term potentiation.



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