Nerve Cell: Structure & Function

A nerve cell is an electrically excitable cell that communicates with other cells via specialized connections called synapses. It is the main component of nervous tissue in all animals except sponges and placozoa. Plants and fungi do not have nerve cells.

Nerve Cell System

Neurons are the primary components of the nerve cell system, along with the glial cells that give them structural and metabolic support. The nerve system is made up of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, which includes the autonomic and somatic nervous systems. Invertebrates, the majority of neurons belong to the central nervous system, but some reside in peripheral ganglia, and many sensory neurons are situated in sensory organs such as the retina and cochlea.

Types of Nerves

Based on their roles, the neurons found in the human nervous system can be divided into 3 classes they are:

  • Sensory neurons: It gets information about what’s going on inside and outside of the body and bring that information into the CNS so it can be processed. For instance, if you picked up a hot coal, sensory neurons with endings in your find tips would convey the information to your CNS that it was really hot.
  • Motor neurons: They get information from other neurons and convey commands to your muscles, organs, and glands. For instance, if you picked up a hot coal, motor neurons innervating the muscles in your fingers would cause your hand to let go.
  • Interneurons: Which are found only in the CNS, connect one neuron to another. They receive information from other neurons and transmit information to other neurons.

Basic Functions of a Neurv cell

  • Receive signals or information.
  • Integrate incoming signals to determine whether or not the information should be passed along.
  • Communicate signals to target cells other neurons or muscles or glands.

Neuron StructureNerve Cell-structure
Parts of Neuron

  1. Dendrites: These are branch-like structures that receive messages from other neurons and allow the transmission of messages to the cell body.
  2. Cell Body: Each neuron has a cell body with a nucleus, Golgi body, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and other components.
  3. Axon: It is a tube-like structure that carries electrical impulse from the cell body to the axon terminals that passes the impulse to another neuron.
  4. Synapse: It is the chemical junction between the terminal of one neuron and the dendrites of another neuron.

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