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Several techniques such as intracellular recording, patch-clamp, and voltage-clamp technique, pharmacology, confocal imaging, molecular biology, two photon laser scanning microscopy and Ca2 imaging have been used to study activity at the cellular level.Cellular neuroscience examines the various types of neurons, the functions of different neurons, the influence of neurons upon each other, how neurons work together.Metabotropic receptors on the other hand activate second messenger cascade systems that result in the opening of ion channel located some place else on the same postsynaptic membrane.Although slower than ionotropic receptors that function as on-and-off switches, metabotropic receptors have the advantage of changing the cell's responsiveness to ions and other metabolites, examples being gamma amino-butyric acid (inhibitory transmitter), glutamic acid (excitatory transmitter), dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, melanin, serotonin, melatonin, and substance P.As the rising phase reaches its peak, voltage-gated Na channels are inactivated whereas voltage-gated K channels are activated, resulting in a net outward movement of K ions, which repolarizes the membrane potential towards the resting membrane potential.Repolarization of the membrane potential continues, resulting in an undershoot phase or absolute refractory period.Once bounded with Ca2 , the vesicles dock and fuse with the presynaptic membrane, and release neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft by a process known as exocytosis.The neurotransmitters then diffuse across the synaptic cleft and bind to postsynaptic receptors embedded on the postsynaptic membrane of another neuron.

Following several local graded depolarizations of the membrane potential, the threshold of excitation is reached, voltage-gated sodium channels are activated, which leads to an influx of Na ions.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.When there is a change in voltage in the terminal bouton, voltage-gated calcium channels embedded in the membranes of these boutons become activated.These allow Ca2 ions to diffuse through these channels and bind with synaptic vesicles within the terminal boutons.

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Plastic change often results from the alteration of the number of neurotransmitter receptors located on a synapse.

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