A substance that is released at some nerve endings. Its function is to pass on a nerve impulse to the next nerve or to initiate muscular contraction. Once acetylcholine has been released, it has only a transitory effect because it is rapdily broken down by the enzyme cholinesterase.


One of a varied family of alkaline, nitrogen-containing substances, usually plant-derived, reacting with acids to form salts. Normally intensely bitter, alkaloids form a body of substances widely used in drug and herbal therapy. They are usually biologically active and have a toxic potential. The term is more pharmaceutical and medical than chemical since alkaloids come from a variety of otherwise unrelated organic compounds.


An agent that reduces fever.


An agent that stops bleeding.


The stage in mitosis during which the chromosomes are aligned along a single plane in the centre of the cell. This stage is the briefest stage of mitosis. Each chromosome can clearly be observed as a pair of joined identical chromatids. The stage ends as soon as the centromeres connecting the pairs to each other break.


Thin tubules made up of proteins that are used to make up structures involved in cellular movement.


The process of nuclear division in eukaryotic cells that produces two daughter cells from one mother cell, each with identical genetic make-up.

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor

A drug that inhibits the enzyme monoamine oxidase. This enzyme degrades (breaks down) neurotransmitters reducing the effectiveness of noradrenaline (NA), serotonin, and dopamine. They should not be taken with drugs (like ECA) that increase the release of these neurotransmitters because this could lead to dangerous overstimulation.


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A group of unsaturated hydrocarbons present in plants. Terpenes consist of isoprene units, CH2:C(CH3)CH:CH2. Diterpenes have four units, C20H32.


Synonyms: 3-(2-Aminoethyl)indole; 1H-Indole-3-ethanamine;

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Oxford Dictionary of Chemistry 3rd Edition; Oxford University Press 1996

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