Substances that participate in eliciting the postsynaptic response to a transmitter fall under this heading. The clearest examples of such effects are provided by the involvement of cyclic AMP, cyclic GMP, and inositol phosphates as second messengers at specific sites of synaptic transmission (see Chapters 1, 6, 7, 10, and 11). Changes in the concentration of second messengers may enhance the generation of synaptic potentials, and second messenger—dependent protein phos-phorylation can initiate a complex cascade of molecular events that regulate the properties of membrane and cytoplasmic proteins central to neuronal excitability. These possibilities are particularly pertinent to the action of drugs that augment or reduce transmitter effects (see below).
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