Synapse: A specialized junction at which a neural cell (neuron) communicates with a target cell. At a synapse, a neuron releases a chemical transmitter that diffuses across a small gap and activates special sites called receptors on the target cell. The target cell may be another neuron or a specialized region of a muscle or secretory cell. Neurons can also communicate through direct electrical connections (electrical synapses).
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016