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We can see here how one presynaptic neuron is firing neurotransmitter and branching off to affect a few postsynaptic neurones.
Divergence is where a main presynaptic neuron splits its neurotransmitter to affect a large number of postsynaptic neurons. This process allows for an impulse to be amplified in order to produce a response over a widespread area (i.e. stimulation of multiple motor units for muscle contraction)[1]. Divergence is not limited to affecting postsynaptic neurones along the same tract, but can split into multiple tracts so that the impulse is transmitted to different locations for different, simultaneous responses[2].

We can see here how one presynaptic neuron is firing its neurotransmitter which branches off in different directions to affect a few different postsynaptic neurons[3]


  1. Moini J. Anatomy and physiology for health professionals. 2nd ed. Burlington (MA): Jones and Bartlett Learning; 2016. p. 239
  2. Hall JE. Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Elsevier; 2016. p. 602
  3. Perron J, Dodd J (2011) Inductive specification and axonal orientation of spinal neurons mediated by divergent bone morphogenetic protein signaling pathways, [research article] 6:36, Available through http://www.neuraldevelopment.com/ [Accessed 29 November 2012]

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