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NCLEX® QOTD: Neurotransmitter

Osmosis Team
Nov 22, 2023

Today's NCLEX-RN® question of the day focuses on a nurse who is reviewing neurotransmitter activity and how it relates to substance use disorders. Which is the primary neurotransmitter in the reward center of the brain? Can you figure it out?

The nurse is reviewing neurotransmitter activity and how it relates to substance use disorders. Which is the primary neurotransmitter in the reward center of the brain?

A. Serotonin

B. Dopamine

C. Acetylcholine

D. Norepinephrine

Scroll down for the correct answer!

The correct answer to today's NCLEX-RN® Question is...

B. Dopamine

Rationale: Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter in the reward center. When a person experiences pleasure, a surge of dopamine is released from the nucleus accumbens, which is a cluster of nerves near the hypothalamus, more commonly known as the brain’s reward center

Major Takeaway

Inside the brain are small molecules called neurotransmitters that are produced and used by neurons to communicate with each other. This communication happens when one neuron releases a neurotransmitter which then binds to the receptors of another neuron causing the neuron to react. 

Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter involved in the reward center of the brain. When a person experiences pleasure, a surge of dopamine is released from the nucleus accumbens, which is a cluster of nerves near the hypothalamus, more commonly known as the brain’s reward center.


Illustration of the Physiology of brain's reward center

Incorrect answer explanations

A. Serotonin

Rationale: Serotonin is not the primary neurotransmitter involved in the reward center of the brain. This neurotransmitter has several functions, including regulation of mood, sleep, and appetite.

C. Acetylcholine

Rationale: Acetylcholine is not the primary neurotransmitter involved in the reward center of the brain. Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system.

D. Norepinephrine

Rationale: Norepinephrine is not the primary neurotransmitter involved in the reward center of the brain. Norepinephrine is the neurotransmitter responsible for the “fight or flight” response. 

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