Neurons (also referred to as neurones or nerve cells) are the an essential units of the mind and worried system, the cells responsible for receiving sensory input from the outside world, for sending out motor commands to our muscles, and also for transforming and also relaying the electrical signals in ~ every step in between. Much more than that, your interactions specify who we space as people. Having said that, our roughly 100 billion neurons do interact closely with various other cell types, broadly classified together glia (these may actually outnumber neurons, although it’s no really known).

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The development of brand-new neurons in the mind is dubbed neurogenesis, and this deserve to happen also in adults.

What go a neuron look at like?

A valuable analogy is to think that a neuron together a tree. A neuron has three key parts: dendrites, an axon, and a cell human body or soma (see photo below), which can be represented as the branches, roots and also trunk the a tree, respectively. A dendrite (tree branch) is whereby a neuron receives entry from other cells. Dendrites branch as they move towards their tips, as with tree branches do, and they even have leaf-like frameworks on lock called spines.

The axon (tree roots) is the output framework of the neuron; once a neuron desires to speak to an additional neuron, it sends an electric message referred to as an action potential throughout the whole axon. The soma (tree trunk) is wherein the nucleus lies, where the neuron’s DNA is housed, and where proteins room made to it is in transported throughout the axon and also dendrites. 

The tree-like framework of a neuron. Dendritic spines are tiny structures that get inputs from the axons of various other neurons. Bottom-right image: a segment that dendrite indigenous which spines branch off, choose leaves off a tree branch. Note the very small size (~0.001mm). (Image: Alan Woodruff ; De Roo et al / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons)

There are different species of neurons, both in the brain and the spinal cord. They are generally split according to where they orginate, whereby they project to and also which neurotransmitters they use.

Concepts and also definitions

Axon – The long, thin structure in which activity potentials room generated; the transmitting component of the neuron. After initiation, activity potentials travel down axons to reason release of neurotransmitter.

Dendrite – The receiving component of the neuron. Dendrites receive synaptic inputs from axons, through the sum full of dendritic entry determining whether the neuron will certainly fire an action potential.

Spine – The tiny protrusions found on dendrites the are, for plenty of synapses, the postsynaptic call site.

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Action potential – Brief electrical event typically generated in the axon the signals the neuron as "active". An action potential travels the length of the axon and also causes release of neurotransmitter right into the synapse. The activity potential and consequent transmitter release enable the neuron to interact with other neurons.