Neurons

Topics: Neuron, Action potential, Chemical synapse Pages: 3 (912 words) Published: September 25, 2013
Neurons are cells used to perceive the outside environment, the internal environment within themselves, to formulate behavioral response to those signals, and to send that information to other neurons, muscles, or glands. All information comes into a neuron through the dendrite, flows through the neuron and then leaves to go to the next neuron through the axon. Neuron communication does not rely on a single entity but entrusts several different processes that involve the contribution of neuron structure, electrical and chemical synapse, as well as neurotransmitters. Nerve cells are the basic functioning component in the nervous system. Every part of the system is comprised of neurons that collect and distribute information to make the body function. All neurons consist of four main components; a soma, dendrites, an axon and its terminals. The soma is a cell body enclosing a nucleus and other organelles necessary for a functioning life, while supervising the metabolic activity of the neuron. Dendrites are branched processes that receive electrical impulses from surrounding neurons. The axon is a long projection that transmits electric signals, called action potentials, over long distances. The axon terminals are positioned at the end of the axon. These terminals are in close proximity to the dendrites of other neurons, creating synapses. Neurons use these junctions to pass messages to their target cells. These anatomical structures participate to complete the communication process. Neurons are capable of transmitting messages via two distinct methods, chemical and electrical synapses. The electrical synapse, also known as an action potential, is involved in intracellular signaling, which is communication within a cell. Electric signals occur because electrically charged molecules, call ions, move across the membrane. These protein membranes pose as a blockade to ions. In the presence of neurotransmitters, the ions are able to travel through open ion channels....

References: Cardoso, Silvia. “Communication Between Nerve Cells.” 2001 http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n12/fundamentos/neurotransmissores/neurotransmitters2.htm> Brain and Mind Fundamentals. 5 Feb 2012.
Reiscerg, Daniel. Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind. New York: WW Norton and Company, 2010.
Saladin, Kenneth. Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function 6th Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2010.
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