Biology » The Nervous System » Neurons and Glial Cells

Summarizing Neurons and Glial Cells

Summary

The nervous system is made up of neurons and glia. Neurons are specialized cells that are capable of sending electrical as well as chemical signals. Most neurons contain dendrites, which receive these signals, and axons that send signals to other neurons or tissues. There are four main types of neurons: unipolar, bipolar, multipolar, and pseudounipolar neurons. Glia are non-neuronal cells in the nervous system that support neuronal development and signaling. There are several types of glia that serve different functions.

Glossary

astrocyte

glial cell in the central nervous system that provide nutrients, extracellular buffering, and structural support for neurons; also makes up the blood-brain barrier

axon

tube-like structure that propagates a signal from a neuron’s cell body to axon terminals

axon hillock

electrically sensitive structure on the cell body of a neuron that integrates signals from multiple neuronal connections

axon terminal

structure on the end of an axon that can form a synapse with another neuron

dendrite

structure that extends away from the cell body to receive messages from other neurons

ependymal

cell that lines fluid-filled ventricles of the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord; involved in production of cerebrospinal fluid

glia

(also, glial cells) cells that provide support functions for neurons

microglia

glia that scavenge and degrade dead cells and protect the brain from invading microorganisms

myelin

fatty substance produced by glia that insulates axons

neuron

specialized cell that can receive and transmit electrical and chemical signals

nodes of Ranvier

gaps in the myelin sheath where the signal is recharged

oligodendrocyte

glial cell that myelinates central nervous system neuron axons

radial glia

glia that serve as scaffolds for developing neurons as they migrate to their final destinations

satellite glia

glial cell that provides nutrients and structural support for neurons in the peripheral nervous system

Schwann cell

glial cell that creates myelin sheath around a peripheral nervous system neuron axon

synapse

junction between two neurons where neuronal signals are communicated

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