Addiction and neural ageing
Addiction and neural ageing

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Glossary


Glossary for SD805_2
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G

Gestalt psychology

A school of psychology which emphasised that our perception of an image is more than the sum of our perception of component features within an image. (‘Gestalt’ is German for ‘pattern or configuration’.) These days, Gestalt is more commonly used to apply to a form of therapy.


gland

Structure from which substances are secreted by the body. Glands can be endorine, secreting hormones into the bloodstrean, or exocrine, secreting (for example) digestive juices into the gut or sweat onto the surface of the skin.


glia (glial cells)

Cells in the nervous system, found in close physical association with neurons. They are not directly involved in transmission of information along neurons, but have a supporting role. Their functions are both metabolic, e.g. regulating the chemical composition of the nervous system, and structural – they are often wrapped tightly around neurons, where their fatty membranes, called myelin, act as electrical insulation.


glucagon

Hormone produced by alpha cells of the pancreas in response to lowering of blood glucose level. Glucagon stimulates the release of glucose from glycogen and triacylglycerol stores (via glycogenolysis and lipolysis respectively) and also the new synthesis of glucose (gluconeogenesis).


glucocorticoids

A group of steroid hormones, the most important being cortisol and corticosterone, synthesised by the adrenal gland; they are involved in the regulation of metabolism and resistance to stress conditions.


gluconeogenesis

The new synthesis of glucose from other small molecules (e.g. lactate, pyruvate, glycerol).


glucoreceptor

A neuron whose activity is particularly sensitive to local glucose level or rate of glucose metabolism.


glucose sparing

Production of ATP by catabolism of fuel molecules other than glucose, e.g. fatty acids.


glutamate

An amino acid which is not only a constituent of proteins, but also functions as a neurotransmitter; a derivative of glutamine (also an amino acid).


glutathione peroxidase (GPx)

An enzyme that catalyses the oxidation of two molecules of glutathione, a tripeptide made of three amino acids (γ-glutamyl-cysteinyl-glycine) by hydrogen peroxide, to form oxidised glutathione and two molecules of water. This enzyme is very important in protection of haemoglobin from oxidative breakdown.



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