Diagram showing the synapse between two neurons (or nerve cells) during excitotoxicity. Excessive amounts of glutamate, a neurotransmitter, is being released from the axon terminal of the presynaptic neuron into the synaptic cleft. The receptors become overactivated, allowing high levels of calcium to enter the neuron, which activates enzymes to damage cell structures like the calcium pump. Excitotoxicity may be involved in CNS injuries and neurological diseases.
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