The neuromuscular junction is where nerves meet muscles. The terminals of the nerve fibres connect to the motor end plates. which are unique locations on the muscle membrane. Receptors on these plates allow muscles to respond to acetylcholine. A chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) is produced by the nerve to transfer the nerve impulse to the neuromuscular junction. An electrical impulse moves through the muscle. Once a neuron is activated at this moment, it causes it to contract. Acetylcholine is broken down once the impulse is sent so that it does not continue to stimulate the muscles.
Disorders characterised by a dysfunction of the neuromuscular junction include:
Botulism is an uncommon but serious disease caused by toxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.
Botulism can be classified into three types:
Hazardous bacteria grow and create the toxin in low-oxygen settings, such as home-canned food.
If these bacteria enter a cut, they can induce a potentially fatal infection that produces the toxin.
This is the most frequent type of botulism, which occurs when Clostridium botulinum bacterial spores proliferate in a baby's intestinal tract. It usually affects babies between the ages of 2 and 8 months.
Furthermore, several medications might cause the neuromuscular junction to malfunction.
Some antibiotics, certain insecticides (organophosphates),
Chemical-warfare chemicals such as sarin gas and Novichok,
and curare is among the medications used in high doses. Novichok was created in Russia and has been used in several assassination attempts.
Curare has been used to relax muscles during surgery as well as paralyse and kill when applied to the tip of poison darts.
Some of these chemicals inhibit the natural breakdown of acetylcholine once a nerve signal is sent to the muscle.
Neuromuscular junction problems commonly result in decreased nerve cell activity and muscle weakness. However, they have no effect on feeling (that is, they do not cause loss of sensation or abnormal sensations, such as tingling or a pins-and-needle sensation).
Some neuromuscular junction problems cause a decrease in nerve activity, resulting in weakness. Other conditions, such as the ones listed below, increase nerve activity:
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