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Neu ro n

What
is
neu ro n?
Acco rd in g
to
th e
book,
Mem mle r’s
str u ctu re
an d
fu nctio n
of
th e
body,
th e

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fu nctio nal
cells
of
nerv ous
sy ste m
are
hig hly
sp ecia liz ed
ce lls
ca lle d
neu ro n.
Neu ro n
is
a sin gle
nerv e
ce ll

in
th e
en tir e
nerv ous
sy ste m ,
whic h
is
ele ctr ic a lly
ex cita b le
ce ll
th at
ca rrie s
in fo rm atio n
afte r
bein g

pro cess v ia c h em ic al o r e le ctr ic al s ig nal.

Neu ro ns
liv e
both
in
an d
outs id e
th e
ce n tr a l
nerv ous
sy ste m .
Unders ta n din g
how
th e
neu ro ns
work

is
vita l
to
unders ta n din g
th e
nerv ous
sy ste m .
The
neu ro n
has
tw o
im porta n t
str u ctu re s
calle d
th e
den drite

an d
ax on,
als o
calle d
nerv e
fib ers .
The
den drite s
are
li k e
te n ta cle s
th at
sp ro ut
fro m
th e
cell
an d
th e
ax on
is

one
lo ng
ex te n sio n
of
th e
ce ll.
The
den drite s
re c eiv e
sig nals
fro m
oth er
neu ro ns,
while
th e
ax on
se n ds

im puls e s
to
oth er
neu ro ns.
Axons
ca n
ex te n d
to
more
th an
a mete r
lo ng.
Avera g e
siz ed
neu ro ns
hav e

hundre d s
of
den drite s;
th ere fo re
it
can
re ceiv e
th ousa n ds
of
sig nals
sim ulta n eo usly
fro m
oth er
neu ro ns.

The
neu ro n
se n ds
im puls e s
by
co nnectio n
th e
ax on
to
th e
den drite s
of
an oth er
nerv e
ce ll.
The
sy nap se
is
a
gap
betw een
th e
ax on
an d
th e
ad ja c en t
neu ro n,
whic h
is
where
data
is
tr a n sm itte d
fro m
one
neu ro n
to

an oth er.
The
neu ro n
is
neg ati v ely
ch arg ed
an d
it
bath es
in
flu id s
th at
co nta in
posit iv ely
ch arg ed
pota ssiu m

an d
so diu m
io ns.
The
mem bra n e
of
th e
neu ro n
hold s
neg ati v ely
ch arg ed
pro te in
mole cu le s.
The
neu ro n

has
pore s
calle d
io n
ch an nels
to
allo w
so diu m
io ns
to
pass
in to
th e
mem bra n e,
but
pre v en t
th e
pro te in

mole cu le s
fro m
esc ap in g
(p ota ssiu m
io ns
ca n
fre ely
pass
th ro ugh
th e
mem bra n e
sin ce
th e
io n
ch an nels

mostly
re str ic t
so diu m
io ns).
When
a neu ro n
is
stim ula te d
(n ot
at
re st) ,
th e
pore s
open
an d
th e
so diu m

io ns
ru sh
in
becau se
of
its
attr a ctio n
to
th e
neg ativ ely
ch arg ed
pro te in
mole cu le s,
whic h
mak es
th e
cell

positiv ely c h arg ed .

Neu ro ns
are
ex tr e m ely
im porta n t
to
us
bec au se
we
co uld n’t
fu nctio n
with out
th em .
We

would n’t
know
how
to
eat,
walk
an d
ta lk
or
do
an yth in g!
We
would
die
with out
th em .
That
is
why
th ey

are s o e x tr e m ely i m porta n t i n o ur d ail y l iv es. B e g ood t o y our b ra in a n d t h e n eu ro ns t h at h ugely a ssis t i t.

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