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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.Plastic change often results from the alteration of the number of neurotransmitter receptors located on a synapse.There are several underlying mechanisms that cooperate to achieve synaptic plasticity, including changes in the quantity of neurotransmitters released into a synapse and changes in how effectively cells respond to those neurotransmitters.There are two families of receptors: ionotropic and metabotropic receptors.Ionotropic receptors are a combination of a receptor and an ion channel.

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Thus, the fundamental difference between a neuron and a nonneuronal cell is a matter of degree.

When ionotropic receptors are activated, certain ion species such as Na to enter the postsynaptic neuron, which depolarizes the postsynaptic membrane.

If more of the same type of postsynaptic receptors are activated, then more Na will enter the postsynaptic membrane and depolarize cell.

The Hodgkin–Huxley model of an action potential in the squid giant axon has been the basis for much of the current understanding of the ionic bases of action potentials.

Briefly, the model states that the generation of an action potential is determined by two ions: Na and K .

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