neu·​ro·​trans·​mit·​ter | \ ˌnu̇r-ō-tran(t)s-ˈmi-tər How to pronounce neurotransmitter (audio) , -tranz-, ˌnyu̇r- \

Definition of neurotransmitter

: a substance (such as norepinephrine or acetylcholine) that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse

Examples of neurotransmitter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To show a proof of principle, UT graduate student Sean Leonard recently engineered a bacterium from the bee gut to produce RNA that increases production of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "A love of insects and their microbial partners helped this biologist reveal secrets of symbiosis," 14 Nov. 2019 Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in the brain, associated with our reward and pleasure center; variations in DRD4 have been tied to novelty seeking and risktaking, behaviors more commonly associated with liberals. Bill Sullivan, National Geographic, "Why we like what we like: A scientist’s surprising findings," 6 Aug. 2019 After other Parkinson’s drugs stop working, patients typically take levodopa, a precursor to dopamine, to restore levels of the neurotransmitter that their bodies no longer make in sufficient quantities. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "Warning: Swimming and deep brain stimulation do not mix," 29 Nov. 2019 Most of the neurotransmitters in our brain are made by bacteria living in our guts. Tobias Rees, Quartz, "Why tech companies need philosophers—and how I convinced Google to hire them," 22 Nov. 2019 Research in the early 1970s showed that taking tryptophan supplements can boost serotonin, a neurotransmitter that was historically associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. Andrew Neff, The Conversation, "Turning to turkey’s tryptophan to boost mood? Not so fast," 21 Nov. 2019 Categorizing patients into neat buckets on the basis of neurotransmitter levels and other brain scan features is challenging. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Brain scans could help personalize treatment for people who are depressed or suicidal," 20 Aug. 2019 Each neurotransmitter attaches to matching areas on nerve cells known as receptors. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Ayahuasca alters brain waves to produce waking dream-like state, study finds," 19 Nov. 2019 Nicotine interferes with the decision-making part of the brain and affects moods, impulse control, attentiveness and learning by adversely affecting the synapse gap and neurotransmitters. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Legacy Parents Academy focuses on vaping," 17 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'neurotransmitter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of neurotransmitter

1961, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of neurotransmitter was in 1961

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Neurotransmitter.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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How to pronounce neurotransmitter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of neurotransmitter

medical : a substance in the body that carries a signal from one nerve cell to another


neu·​ro·​trans·​mit·​ter | \ ˌn(y)u̇r-ō-tran(t)s-ˈmit-ər, -tranz- How to pronounce neurotransmitter (audio) \

Medical Definition of neurotransmitter

: a substance (as norepinephrine or acetylcholine) that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse — see false neurotransmitter

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