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When ionotropic receptors are activated, certain ion species such as Na to enter the postsynaptic neuron, which depolarizes the postsynaptic membrane.
Opening of NMDA channels (which relates to the level of cellular depolarization) leads to a rise in post-synaptic Ca2 concentration and this has been linked to long-term potentiation, LTP (as well as to protein kinase activation); strong depolarization of the post-synaptic cell completely displaces the magnesium ions that block NMDA ion channels and allows calcium ions to enter a cell – probably causing LTP, while weaker depolarization only partially displaces the Mg2 ions, resulting in less Ca2 entering the post-synaptic neuron and lower intracellular Ca2 concentrations (which activate protein phosphatases and induce long-term depression, LTD).
Moreover, the distinctions based on function between neurons and other cells such as cardiac and muscle cells are not helpful.
Thus, the fundamental difference between a neuron and a nonneuronal cell is a matter of degree.
Neurons are diverse with respect to morphology and function.
Thus, not all neurons correspond to the stereotypical motor neuron with dendrites and myelinated axons that conduct action potentials.