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242382721 neurons

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The nervous system is made up of trillions of nerve cells, divided into two main groups:
neurons and neuroglia. Neurons are long, thin cells that generate and transmit electrical
signals called nerve impulses, and which together form a vast, high-speed communication
system. (Walker, 2003) A neuron is a nerve cell that is the basic building block of the
nervous system. Neurons are specialized to transmit information throughout the body.
These highly specialized nerve cells are responsible for communicating information in both
chemical and electrical forms. (Cherry, n.d.)
Similarities and Differences
Neurons, since they are nerve cells, have similarities with other cells. Neurons and other
body cells both contain a nucleus that holds genetic information. They are both surrounded
by a membrane that protects the cell. The cell bodies of both cell types contain organelles
that support the life of the cell, including mitochondria, Golgi bodies, and cytoplasm.
Contrary to their similarities, they also have differences that make neurons unique. Unlike
other body cells, neurons stop reproducing shortly after birth. Because of this, some parts of
the brain have more neurons at birth than later in life because neurons die but are not
replaced. While neurons do not reproduce, research has shown that new connections
between neurons form throughout life. Neurons have a membrane that is designed to sends
information to other cells. The axon and dendrites are specialized structures designed to
transmit and receive information. The connections between cells are known as synapses.
Neurons release chemicals known as neurotransmitters into these synapses to
communicate with other neurons. (Cherry, n.d.)
Parts of a Neuron
(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [NINDS], 2014)

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