Q.6:- Give a brief account of:
(a) Mechanism of synaptic transmission
(b) Mechanism of vision
(c) Mechanism of hearing
(a)Mechanism of synaptic transmission
A nerve impulse is transmitted from one neuron to another through junctions called synapses which is formed by the membranes of a pre-synaptic neuron and a post-synaptic neuron may or may not be separated by synaptic cleft. There are two types of synapses, namely, electrical synapses and chemical synapses.
At electrical synapses, the membranes of pre- and post-synaptic neurons are in very close proximity so electrical current can flow directly from one neuron into the other across these synapses. Transmission of an impulse across electrical synapses is very similar to impulse conduction along a single axon and transmission is always faster than that across a chemical synapse however it is not common in human body.
At a chemical synapse, the membranes of the pre- and post-synaptic neurons are separated by a fluid-filled space called synaptic cleft. Chemicals called neurotransmitters are involved in the transmission of impulses at these synapses.
(b) Mechanism of Vision
• The light rays in visible wavelength focussed on the retina through the ornea and lens generate potentials (impulses) in rods and cones.
• Light induces dissociation of the retinal from opsin resulting in changes in the structure of the opsin. This causes membrane permeability changes. As a result, potential differences are generated in he photoreceptor cells. This produces a signal that generates action potentials in the ganglion cells through the bipolar cells.
• These action potentials (impulses) are transmitted by the optic nerves to the visual cortex area of the brain, where the nervous impulses are analysed and the image formed on the retina is recognised based on earlier memory and experience.
(c) Mechanism of Hearing:
The outer part of the ear collects sound. That sound pressure is amplified through the middle portion of the ear and, in land animals, passed from the medium of air into a liquid medium. The change from air to liquid occurs because air surrounds the head and is contained in the ear canal and middle ear, but not in the inner ear. The inner ear is hollow, embedded in the temporal bone, the densest bone of the body. The hollow channels of the inner ear are filled with liquid, and contain a sensory epithelium that is studded with hair cells. The microscopic “hairs” of these cells are structural protein filaments that project out into the fluid. The hair cells are mechanoreceptors that release a chemical neurotransmitter when stimulated. Sound waves moving through fluid push the filaments; if the filaments bend over enough it causes the hair cells to fire. In this way sound waves are transformed into nerve impulses.