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What are the parts of the neuron?

What are the parts of the neuron?

April 26, 2024

On numerous occasions we have talked about the nervous system, the cells that make it up, its functions and what happens when these do not work properly. Now, what makes up the neuronal cells that inhabit the nervous system?

Throughout this article we will talk about the different parts of the neurons , as well as its main characteristics and the functions that each of them possess and that make possible the transmission of information throughout the entire nervous system.

  • Related article: "Types of neurons: characteristics and functions"

What is a neuron?

Neurons are some small cells that inhabit our nervous system and that are responsible for activating or inhibiting the electrical activity of this. Sun's main function is to receive electrical stimuli and drive them to other neurons. This stimulus or electrical reaction is known as action potential.

Therefore, the neurons send an infinite number of action potentials between them that make possible the functioning of our nervous system, thanks to which we can move our muscles, feel pain or even dream.

It is estimated that only about 86 billion neurons are housed in our brain. However, at the time of our birth there may be more than 100 billion. The reason for this decrease in the amount is that over the years our brain ages and the number of neurons begins to wane.

However, this does not mean that our neurons can only die. In our day to day, not only the degeneration of neurons occurs, but also their regeneration.

Currently, it is believed that our brain is in constant neuronal regeneration . Thanks to the process known as neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons and new neuronal connections takes place. In addition, some studies say that, especially during childhood, we can enhance this birth of new neurons through a series of exercises and activities that exercise our brain.

Main parts of the neuron

As mentioned above, the neuron constitutes the functional and structural unit not only of our brain, but of the entire nervous system. These are formed by different parts, each with specific characteristics and specific functions .

These parts are known as soma or cell body, dendrites and axon.

1. Soma or cell body

The first part we will talk about is the soma or cell body. As its name suggests, the soma constitutes the center of the neuron, and it is here that the metabolic activity of this .

In the soma new molecules are generated and all kinds of essential functions are carried out that make possible the vital maintenance of the cell and its functions,

In order to carry out these functions and achieve the transmission of information between neurons, each of them must produce huge amounts of proteins , without which this transmission would not be possible.

In addition, within the cell body we can find some organelles also present in other types of cells such as lysosomes and mitochondria, the Golgi apparatus or the chromosomes that define our genetics. All this is located in the cytoplasm, which constitutes the soma of the neuron.

Finally, within the neuronal cytoplasm also are the fibrillar proteins, which form the cytoskeleton . This cytoskeleton is what gives shape to the neuron and provides a mechanism for the transport of molecules.

  • Related article: "Soma neuronal or pericarion: parts and functions"

2. Dendrites

Another part that make up the neurons are the dendrites. This name refers to the numerous extensions in the form of small branches They are born from the neuronal body and whose main functions are to receive the stimuli and provide food for the cell.

These extensions function as neuronal terminals, which receive the action potentials of other nearby neurons and redirect them to the cell body or soma. In addition, due to its branched form, along these we find the dendritic spines, small spines in which the synapses that give rise make possible the transmission of bioelectric impulses .

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3. Axon

Finally, the axon is the main prolongation of the neuron (and the largest). It is responsible for transporting the action potential from the cell body to another neuron .

This prolongation of great length is born from the cellular body or, in some occasions, from a dendrite.Inside we can find the axoplasm, a characteristically viscous substance in which the different organisms of neurons are found.

One of the main characteristics of these axons is that they can be covered with a layer known as myelin sheath , which can enhance or facilitate the rapidity with which the action potentials or electrical stimuli are transmitted.

In addition, neurons can be classified into different types according to the length of the axon: Golgi type I and type II neurons, or according to the form of these: pyramidal cells of the cerebral cortex and Purkinje cells.

4. Other neuronal elements

In addition to the main parts of the neuron described above, there are other particles or sections of great importance for the proper functioning of these. Some of these parts are:

Schwann cells

Also known as neurolemocytes these cells coat the axons of neurons of the peripheral nervous system and they form myelin sheaths.

Myelin sheaths

As mentioned above, some axons have a myelin layer that facilitates the transmission of electrical stimuli in long journeys .

Ranvier nodules

This concept refers to the tiny spaces that are in the myelin sheath and its main purpose is to enhance the speed with which electrical impulses are transmitted.

2-Minute Neuroscience: The Neuron (April 2024).

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