There are two categories of synaptic transmission: electrical and chemical. Each category is associated with a number of characteristic morphologic and physiologic properties. Features of these two types of synaptic transmission are illustrated in Fig. 1. Electrical synaptic transmission is mediated by specialized structures known as gap junctions. The gap junctions associated with electrical synapses provide a pathway for cytoplasmic continuity between the presynaptic and the postsynaptic cells. As a result, a depolarization (or a hyperpolariza-tion) produced in the presynaptic terminal produces a change in potential of the postsynaptic terminal. The potential change in the postsynaptic cell is due to the direct ionic pathway between the presynaptic and postsynaptic cell. For electrical synapses, there is a minimal synaptic delay. As soon as a potential change is produced in the presynaptic terminal, there is a reflection of that potential change in the postsynaptic cell.
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