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Fundamentals of the nervous system and nervous tissue

Nervous Tissue

Fundamentals of the Nervous System and Nervous Tissue


Nervous system
Nervous System

  • The master controlling and communicating system of the body

  • Functions

    • Sensory input –the stimuli goes to CNS

    • Integration – interpretation of sensory input

    • Motor output – response to stimuli coming from CNS

Nervous system1
Nervous System

Figure 11.1

Organization of the nervous system
Organization of the Nervous System

  • Central nervous system (CNS)

    • Brain and spinal cord

    • Integration and command center

  • Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

    • Paired spinal and cranial nerves

    • Carries messages to and from the spinal cord and brain

Peripheral nervous system pns two functional divisions
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS): Two Functional Divisions

  • Sensory (afferent) division

    • Somatic sensory fibers – carry impulses from skin, skeletal muscles, and joints to the brain

    • Visceral sensory fibers – transmit impulses from visceral organs to the brain

Motor division two main parts
Motor Division: Two Main Parts

  • Motor (efferent) division

    • Somatic motor nervous system (voluntary)- carries impulses from the CNS to skeletal muscles. Conscious control

Motor division two main parts1
Motor Division: Two Main Parts

  • Visceral motor nervous system or Autonomic nervous system (ANS) (involuntary) - carry impulses from the CNS to smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands

    • Sympathetic and

    • Parasympathetic

    • Enteric Nervous System (ENS)

Histology of nerve tissue
Histology of Nerve Tissue

  • The two principal cell types of the nervous system are:

    • Neurons – excitable cells that transmit electrical signals

    • Neuroglias (glial) – cells that surround and wrap neurons

Supporting cells neuroglia
Supporting Cells: Neuroglia

  • Neuroglia

    • Provide a supportive scaffolding for neurons

    • Segregate and insulate neurons

    • Guide young neurons to the proper connections

    • Promote health and growth

Neuroglia of the cns
Neuroglia of the CNS

  • Astrocytes

  • Most abundant, versatile, and highly branched glial cells

  • Maintain blood-brain barrier

    • They cling to neurons and their synaptic endings,

    • They wrap around capillaries

      • Regulate their permeability

Neuroglia of the cns1
Neuroglia of the CNS

  • Provide structural framework for the neuron

  • Guide migration of young neurons

  • Control the chemical environment

  • Repair damaged neural tissue


Figure 11.3a

Neuroglia of the cns2
Neuroglia of the CNS

  • Microglia – small, ovoid cells with spiny processes

    • Phagocytes that monitor the health of neurons

  • Ependymal cells – range in shape from squamous to columnar

    • They line the central cavities of the brain and spinal column

Neuroglia of the cns3
Neuroglia of the CNS

  • Oligodendrocytes – branched cells

    • Myelin

      • Wraps of oligodendrocytes processes around nerve fibers

      • Insulates the nerve fibers

Neuroglia of the pns
Neuroglia of the PNS

  • Schwann cells (neurolemmocytes) –

    • Myelin

      • Wraps itself around nerve fibers

      • Insulates the nerve fibers

  • Satellite cells surround neuron cell bodies located within the ganglia

    • Regulate the environment around the neurons

Neurons nerve cells
Neurons (Nerve Cells)

  • Structural units of the nervous system

    • Composed of a body, axon, and dendrites

    • Long-lived, amitotic, and have a high metabolic rate

  • Their plasma membrane function in:

    • Electrical signaling

    • Cell-to-cell signaling during development

Neurons nerve cells1
Neurons (Nerve Cells)

Figure 11.4b

Nerve cell body perikaryon or soma
Nerve Cell Body (Perikaryon or Soma)

  • Contains the nucleus and a nucleolus

  • Is the major biosynthetic center

  • Is the focal point for the outgrowth of neuronal processes

  • Has no centrioles (hence its amitotic nature)

  • Has well-developed Nissl bodies (rough ER)

  • Contains an axon hillock – cone-shaped area from which axons arise


  • Arm like extensions from the soma

  • There are two types of processes: axons and dendrites

  • Myelinated axons are called tracts in the CNS and nerves in the PNS

Dendrites structure
Dendrites: Structure

  • Short, tapering processes

  • They are the receptive, or input, regions of the neuron

  • Electrical signals are conveyed as graded potentials (not action potentials)

Neurons nerve cells2
Neurons (Nerve Cells)

Figure 11.4b

Axons structure
Axons: Structure

  • Slender processes of uniform diameter arising from the hillock

  • Long axons are called nerve fibers

  • Usually there is only one unbranched axon per neuron

  • Axon collaterals

  • Telodendria

  • Axonal terminal or synaptic knobs

Axons function
Axons: Function

  • Generate and transmit action potentials

  • Secrete neurotransmitters from the axonal terminals

  • Movement along axons occurs in two ways

    • Anterograde — toward the axon terminal

    • Retrograde — toward the cell body

Myelin sheath
Myelin Sheath

  • Whitish, fatty (protein-lipoid), segmented sheath around most long axons

  • It functions to:

    • Protect the axon

    • Electrically insulate fibers from one another

    • Increase the speed of nerve impulse transmission

Myelin sheath and neurilemma formation
Myelin Sheath and Neurilemma: Formation

  • Formed by Schwann cells in the PNS

  • A Schwann cell:

    • Envelopes an axon

    • Encloses the axon with its plasma membrane

    • Has concentric layers of membrane that make up the myelin sheath

Nodes of ranvier neurofibral nodes
Nodes of Ranvier (Neurofibral Nodes)

  • Gaps in the myelin sheath between adjacent Schwann cells

  • They are the sites where axon collaterals can emerge

Unmyelinated axons
Unmyelinated Axons

  • A Schwann cell surrounds nerve fibers but coiling does not take place

  • Schwann cells partially enclose 15 or more axons

  • Conduct nerve impulse slowly

Axons of the cns
Axons of the CNS

  • Both myelinated and unmyelinated fibers are present

  • Myelin sheaths are formed by oligodendrocytes

  • Nodes of Ranvier are widely spaced

Regions of the brain and spinal cord
Regions of the Brain and Spinal Cord

  • White matter – dense collections of myelinated fibers

  • Gray matter – mostly soma, dendrites, glial cells and unmyelinated fibers

Neuron classification
Neuron Classification

  • Structural:

    • Multipolar — three or more processes

    • Bipolar — two processes (axon and dendrite)

    • Unipolar — single, short process

Neuron classification1
Neuron Classification

  • Functional:

    • Sensory (afferent) — transmit impulses toward the CNS

    • Motor (efferent) — carry impulses toward the body surface

    • Interneurons (association neurons) — any neurons between a sensory and a motor neuron


  • Neurons are highly irritable

  • Action potentials, or nerve impulses, are:

    • Electrical impulses carried along the length of axons

    • Always the same regardless of stimulus

Electricity definitions
Electricity Definitions

  • Voltage (V) – measure of potential energy generated by separated charge

  • Potential difference – voltage measured between two points

  • Current (I) – the flow of electrical charge between two points

  • Resistance (R) – hindrance to charge flow

Electricity definitions1
Electricity Definitions

  • Insulator – substance with high electrical resistance

  • Conductor – substance with low electrical resistance

Electrical current and the body
Electrical Current and the Body

  • Reflects the flow of ions rather than electrons

  • There is a potential on either side of membranes when:

    • The number of ions is different across the membrane

    • The membrane provides a resistance to ion flow

Role of ion channels
Role of Ion Channels

  • Types of plasma membrane ion channels:

    • Nongated, or leakage channels – always open

    • Chemically gated channels – open with binding of a specific neurotransmitter

Role of ion channels1
Role of Ion Channels

  • Voltage-gated channels – open and close in response to membrane potential.

    • 2 gates

  • Mechanically gated channels – open and close in response to physical deformation of receptors

Gated channels
Gated Channels

Figure 12.13

Operation of a chemically gated channel
Operation of a Chemically Gated Channel

  • Example: Na+-K+ gated channel

  • Closed when a neurotransmitter is not bound to the extracellular receptor

    • Na+ cannot enter the cell and K+ cannot exit the cell

  • Open when a neurotransmitter is attached to the receptor

    • Na+ enters the cell and K+ exits the cell

Operation of a voltage gated channel
Operation of a Voltage-Gated Channel

  • Example: Na+ channel

  • Closed when the intracellular environment is negative

    • Na+ cannot enter the cell

  • Open when the intracellular environment is positive

    • Na+ can enter the cell

Gated channels1
Gated Channels

  • When gated channels are open:

    • Ions move quickly across the membrane

    • Movement is along their electrochemical gradients

    • An electrical current is created

    • Voltage changes across the membrane

Electrochemical gradient
Electrochemical Gradient

  • Ions flow along their chemical gradient when they move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration

  • Ions flow along their electrical gradient when they move toward an area of opposite charge

  • Electrochemical gradient – the electrical and chemical gradients taken together

Resting membrane potential v r
Resting Membrane Potential (Vr)

  • The potential difference (–70 mV) across the membrane of a resting neuron

  • It is generated by different concentrations of Na+, K+, Cl, and protein anions (A)

Resting membrane potential v r1
Resting Membrane Potential (Vr)

  • Ionic differences are the consequence of:

    • Differential permeability of the neurilemma to Na+ and K+

    • Operation of the sodium-potassium pump

Fundamentals of the nervous system and nervous tissue1

Nervous Tissue

Fundamentals of the Nervous System and Nervous Tissue


Membrane potentials signals
Membrane Potentials: Signals

  • Used to integrate, send, and receive information

  • Membrane potential changes are produced by:

    • Changes in membrane permeability to ions

    • Alterations of ion concentrations across the membrane

  • Types of signals – graded potentials and action potentials

Changes in membrane potential
Changes in Membrane Potential

  • Changes are caused by three events

    • Depolarization – the inside of the membrane becomes less negative

    • Repolarization – the membrane returns to its resting membrane potential

    • Hyperpolarization – the inside of the membrane becomes more negative than the resting potential

Graded potentials
Graded Potentials

  • Short-lived, local changes in membrane potential

  • Decrease in intensity with distance

  • Magnitude varies directly with the strength of the stimulus

  • Depolarization or hyperpolarization

  • Sufficiently strong graded potentials can initiate action potentials

Graded potentials1
Graded Potentials

Figure 11.10

Graded potentials2
Graded Potentials

  • Voltage changes are decremental

  • Current is quickly dissipated due to the leaky plasma membrane

  • Only travel over short distances

Action potentials aps
Action Potentials (APs)

  • A brief reversal of membrane potential with a total amplitude of 100 mV

  • Action potentials are only generated by muscle cells and neurons

  • They do not decrease in strength over distance

  • They are the principal means of neural communication

  • An action potential in the axon of a neuron is a nerve impulse

Action potential resting state
Action Potential: Resting State

  • Na+ and K+ voltage gated channels are closed

  • Leakage accounts for small movements of Na+ and K+

  • Each Na+ channel has two voltage-regulated gates

    • Activation gates

    • Inactivation gates

Figure 11.12.1

Action potential resting state1
Action Potential: Resting State

Na channel is closed, but capable of opening

Action potential depolarization phase
Action Potential: Depolarization Phase

  • Na+ permeability increases; membrane potential reverses

  • Na+ gates are opened; K+ gates are closed

  • Threshold – a critical level of depolarization (-55 to -50 mV)

  • At threshold, depolarization becomes self-generating

Figure 11.12.2

Action potential depolarization phase1
Action Potential: Depolarization Phase

Both Na channels are opened

Action potential repolarization phase
Action Potential: Repolarization Phase

  • Sodium inactivation gates close

  • Membrane permeability to Na+ declines to resting levels

  • As sodium gates close, voltage-sensitive K+ gates open

  • K+ exits the cell and internal negativity of the resting neuron is restored

Figure 11.12.3

Action potential repolarization phase1
Action Potential: Repolarization Phase

Na activation channel is opened and inactivation is closed.

Action potential hyperpolarization
Action Potential: Hyperpolarization

  • Potassium gates remain open, causing an excessive efflux of K+

  • This efflux causes hyperpolarization of the membrane (undershoot)

Figure 11.12.4

Action potential role of the sodium potassium pump
Action Potential: Role of the Sodium-Potassium Pump

  • Repolarization

    • Restores the resting electrical conditions of the neuron

    • Does not restore the resting ionic conditions

  • Ionic redistribution back to resting conditions is restored by the sodium-potassium pump

Phases of the action potential
Phases of the Action Potential

  • 1 – resting state

  • 2 – depolarization phase

  • 3 – repolarization phase

  • 4 –hyperpolarization

Figure 11.12

Propagation of an action potential
Propagation of an action potential Axon

  • Continuous propagation

    • Unmyelinated axon

  • Saltatory propagation

    • Myelinated axon

Propagation of an action potential time 0ms continuous propagation
Propagation of an Action Potential Axon(Time = 0ms)- continuous propagation

  • Na gates open

  • Na+ influx causes a patch of the axonal membrane to depolarize

  • Positive Na ions in the axoplasm move toward the polarized (negative) portion of the membrane

Propagation of an action potential time 2ms continuous propagation
Propagation of an Action Potential Axon(Time = 2ms)- continuous propagation

  • A local current is created that depolarizes the adjacent membrane in a forward direction

  • Local voltage-gated Na channels are opened

  • The action potential moves away from the stimulus

Propagation of an action potential time 4ms continuous propagation
Propagation of an Action Potential Axon(Time = 4ms)- continuous propagation

  • Sodium gates close

  • Potassium gates open

  • Repolarization

  • Hyperpolarization

    • Sluggish K channels are kept opened

  • Resting membrane potential is restored in this region

Saltatory conduction
Saltatory Conduction Axon

  • Current passes through a myelinated axon only at the nodes of Ranvier

  • Voltage-gated Na+ channels are concentrated at these nodes

  • Action potentials are triggered only at the nodes and jump from one node to the next

  • Much faster than conduction along unmyelinated axons

Saltatory conduction1
Saltatory Conduction Axon

Figure 11.16

Types of stimuli
Types of stimuli Axon

  • Threshold stimulus

    • Stimulus strong enough to bring the membrane potential to a threshold voltage causing an action potential

  • Subthreshold stimulus

    • weak stimuli that cause depolarization (graded potentials) but not action potentials

Coding for stimulus intensity
Coding for Stimulus Intensity Axon

  • Action potential are All-or-none phenomenon

  • Strong stimuli can generate an action potential more often than weaker stimuli

  • The CNS determines stimulus intensity by the frequency of impulse transmission

Absolute refractory period
Absolute Refractory Period Axon

  • Time from the opening of the Na+ activation gates until the closing of inactivation gates

  • The absolute refractory period:

    • Prevents the neuron from generating an action potential

    • Ensures that each action potential is separate

    • Enforces one-way transmission of nerve impulses

Relative refractory period
Relative Refractory Period Axon

  • The interval following the absolute refractory period when:

    • Sodium gates are closed

    • Potassium gates are open

    • Repolarization is occurring

  • Stimulus stronger than the original one cause a new action potential

Conduction velocities of axons
Conduction Velocities of Axons Axon

  • Conduction velocities vary widely among neurons

  • Rate of impulse propagation is determined by:

    • Axon diameter – the larger the diameter, the faster the impulse

    • Presence of a myelin sheath – myelination dramatically increases impulse speed

Nerve fiber classification
Nerve Fiber Classification Axon

  • Nerve fibers are classified according to:

    • Diameter

    • Degree of myelination

    • Speed of conduction

Axon classification
Axon classification Axon

  • Type A fibers

    • Diameter of 4 to 20 µm and myelinated

  • Type B fibers

    • Diameter of 2 to 4 µm and myelinated

  • Type C fibers

    • Diameter less than 2 µm and unmyelinated

Multiple sclerosis ms
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Axon

  • An autoimmune disease that mainly affects young adults

  • Symptoms: visual disturbances, weakness, loss of muscular control, and urinary incontinence

  • Nerve fibers are severed and myelin sheaths in the CNS become nonfunctional scleroses

  • Shunting and short-circuiting of nerve impulses occurs

Synapses Axon

  • A junction that mediates information transfer from one neuron:

    • To another neuron

    • To an effector cell

  • Presynaptic neuron – conducts impulses toward the synapse

  • Postsynaptic neuron – transmits impulses away from the synapse

Synapses Axon

Figure 11.17

Types of synapses
Types of Synapses Axon

  • Axodendritic – synapses between the axon of one neuron and the dendrite of another

  • Axosomatic – synapses between the axon of one neuron and the soma of another

  • Others: Axoaxonic, etc

Electrical synapses
Electrical Synapses Axon

  • Electrical synapses:

    • Are less common than chemical synapses

    • Correspond to gap junctions found in other cell types

    • Very fast propagation of action potentials

Electrical synapses1
Electrical Synapses Axon

  • Are important in the CNS in:

    • Arousal from sleep

    • Mental attention

    • Emotions and memory

    • Ion and water homeostasis

    • Light transmitting (eye)

Chemical synapses
Chemical Synapses Axon

  • Specialized for the release and reception of neurotransmitters

  • Typically composed of:

  • Presynaptic neuron

    • Contains synaptic vesicles

  • Postsynaptic neuron

    • The receptors are located typically on dendrites and soma

Chemical synapses1
Chemical Synapses Axon

  • Synaptic Cleft

    • Fluid-filled space separating the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons

  • Transmission across the synaptic cleft:

    • Is a chemical event (as opposed to an electrical one)

    • Ensures unidirectional communication between neurons

Synaptic cleft information transfer
Synaptic Cleft: Information Transfer Axon

  • Nerve impulses reach the axonal terminal of the presynaptic neuron and open Ca2+ channels

  • Neurotransmitter is released into the synaptic cleft via exocytosis

Synaptic cleft information transfer1
Synaptic Cleft: Information Transfer Axon

  • Neurotransmitter crosses the synaptic cleft and binds to receptors on the postsynaptic neuron

  • Postsynaptic membrane permeability changes, causing an excitatory or inhibitory effect

Synaptic cleft information transfer2
Synaptic Cleft: Information Transfer Axon




Axon terminal of

presynaptic neuron

Action potential








Axon of



Ion channel open

Synaptic vesicles












Ion channel closed

Ion channel


Ion channel (open)

Figure 11.18

Fundamentals of the nervous system and nervous tissue2

Nervous Tissue Axon

Fundamentals of the Nervous System and Nervous Tissue


Termination of neurotransmitter effects
Termination of Neurotransmitter Effects Axon

  • Neurotransmitter bound to a postsynaptic neuron:

    • Produces a continuous postsynaptic effect

    • Blocks reception of additional “messages”

    • Must be removed from its receptor

Termination of neurotransmitter effects1
Termination of Neurotransmitter Effects Axon

  • Removal of neurotransmitters occurs when they:

    • Are degraded by enzymes

    • Are reabsorbed by astrocytes or the presynaptic terminals

    • Diffuse from the synaptic cleft

Synaptic delay
Synaptic Delay Axon

  • Neurotransmitter must be released, diffuse across the synapse, and bind to receptors

  • Synaptic delay – time needed to do this

  • Synaptic delay is the rate-limiting step of neural transmission

Postsynaptic potentials
Postsynaptic Potentials Axon

  • Neurotransmitter receptors mediate changes in membrane potential according to:

    • The amount of neurotransmitter released

    • The amount of time the neurotransmitter is bound to receptors

Postsynaptic potentials1
Postsynaptic Potentials Axon

  • The two types of postsynaptic potentials are:

    • EPSP – excitatory postsynaptic potentials

    • IPSP – inhibitory postsynaptic potentials

Excitatory postsynaptic potentials
Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials Axon

  • EPSPs are graded potentials that can initiate an action potential in an axon

    • Use only chemically gated channels

    • Na+ and K+ flow in opposite directions at the same time

  • Postsynaptic membranes do not generate action potentials

Inhibitory synapses and ipsps
Inhibitory Synapses and IPSPs Axon

  • Neurotransmitter binding to a receptor at inhibitory synapses:

    • Causes the membrane to become more permeable to potassium and chloride ions

    • Leaves the charge on the inner surface negative

    • Reduces the postsynaptic neuron’s ability to produce an action potential

Inhibitory postsynaptic ipsp
Inhibitory Postsynaptic (IPSP) Axon

Figure 11.19b

Summation Axon

  • A single EPSP cannot induce an action potential

  • EPSPs must summate temporally or spatially to induce an action potential

  • Temporal summation – presynaptic neurons transmit impulses in rapid-fire order

Summation Axon

  • Spatial summation – postsynaptic neuron is stimulated by a large number of terminals at the same time

  • IPSPs can also summate with EPSPs, canceling each other out

Epsp ipsp interactions
EPSP Axon– IPSP Interactions

Neurotransmitters Axon

  • Chemicals used for neuronal communication with the body and the brain

  • 50 different neurotransmitters have been identified

  • Classified chemically and functionally

Chemical neurotransmitters
Chemical Neurotransmitters Axon

  • Acetylcholine (ACh)

  • Biogenic amines

  • Amino acids

  • Peptides

  • Novel messengers: ATP and dissolved gases NO and CO

Neurotransmitters acetylcholine
Neurotransmitters: Acetylcholine Axon

  • First neurotransmitter identified, and best understood

  • Released at the neuromuscular junction

  • Synthesized and enclosed in synaptic vesicles

Neurotransmitters acetylcholine1
Neurotransmitters: Acetylcholine Axon

  • Degraded by the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE)

  • Released by:

    • All neurons that stimulate skeletal muscle

    • Some neurons in the autonomic nervous system

Neurotransmitters biogenic amines
Neurotransmitters: Biogenic Amines Axon

  • Include:

    • Catecholamines – dopamine, norepinephrine (NE), and epinephrine

    • Indolamines – serotonin and histamine

  • Broadly distributed in the brain

  • Play roles in emotional behaviors and our biological clock

Synthesis of catecholamines
Synthesis of Catecholamines Axon

  • Enzymes present in the cell determine length of biosynthetic pathway

  • Norepinephrine and dopamine are synthesized in axonal terminals

  • Epinephrine is released by the adrenal medulla

Figure 11.21

Neurotransmitters amino acids
Neurotransmitters: Amino Acids Axon

  • Include:

    • GABA – Gamma ()-aminobutyric acid

    • Glycine

    • Aspartate

    • Glutamate

  • Found only in the CNS

Neurotransmitters peptides
Neurotransmitters: Peptides Axon

  • Include:

    • Substance P – mediator of pain signals

    • Beta endorphin, dynorphin, and enkephalins

  • Act as natural opiates; reduce pain perception

  • Bind to the same receptors as opiates and morphine

  • Gut-brain peptides – somatostatin, and cholecystokinin

Neurotransmitters novel messengers
Neurotransmitters: Novel Messengers Axon

  • ATP

    • Is found in both the CNS and PNS

    • Produces excitatory or inhibitory responses depending on receptor type

    • Induces Ca2+ wave propagation in astrocytes

    • Provokes pain sensation

Neurotransmitters novel messengers1
Neurotransmitters: Novel Messengers Axon

  • Nitric oxide (NO)

    • Activates the intracellular receptor guanylyl cyclase

    • Is involved in learning and memory

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a main regulator of cGMP in the brain

Functional classification of neurotransmitters
Functional Classification of Neurotransmitters Axon

  • Two classifications: excitatory and inhibitory

    • Excitatory neurotransmitters cause depolarizations (e.g., glutamate)

    • Inhibitory neurotransmitters cause hyperpolarizations (e.g., GABA and glycine)

Functional classification of neurotransmitters1
Functional Classification of Neurotransmitters Axon

  • Some neurotransmitters have both excitatory and inhibitory effects

    • Determined by the receptor type of the postsynaptic neuron

    • Example: acetylcholine

      • Excitatory at neuromuscular junctions with skeletal muscle

      • Inhibitory in cardiac muscle

Neurotransmitter receptor mechanisms
Neurotransmitter Receptor Mechanisms Axon

  • Direct: neurotransmitters that open ion channels

    • Promote rapid responses

    • Examples: ACh and amino acids

  • Indirect: neurotransmitters that act through second messengers

    • Promote long-lasting effects

    • Examples: biogenic amines, peptides, and dissolved gases

Channel linked receptors
Channel-Linked Receptors Axon

  • Composed of integral membrane protein

  • Mediate direct neurotransmitter action

  • Action is immediate, brief, simple, and highly localized

Channel linked receptors1
Channel-Linked Receptors Axon

  • Ligand binds the receptor, and ions enter the cells

  • Excitatory receptors depolarize membranes

  • Inhibitory receptors hyperpolarize membranes

Channel linked receptors2
Channel-Linked Receptors Axon

Figure 11.22a

G protein linked receptors
G Protein-Linked Receptors Axon

  • Responses are indirect, slow, complex, prolonged, and often diffuse

  • These receptors are transmembrane protein complexes

  • First and Second messengers.

Neurotransmitter receptor mechanism
Neurotransmitter Receptor Mechanism Axon

Ions flow

Blocked ion flow



Channel closed

Channel open


Neurotransmitter (ligand)

released from axon terminal

of presynaptic neuron




Changes in



and potential

















Activation of

specific genes

G protein



Figure 11.22b

Neural integration neuronal pools
Neural Integration: Neuronal Pools Axon

  • Functional groups of neurons that:

    • Integrate incoming information

    • Forward the processed information to its appropriate destination

Neural integration neuronal pools1
Neural Integration: Neuronal Pools Axon

  • Simple neuronal pool

    • Input fiber – presynaptic fiber

    • Discharge zone – neurons most closely associated with the incoming fiber

    • Facilitated zone – neurons farther away from incoming fiber

Simple neuronal pool
Simple Neuronal Pool Axon

Figure 11.23

Types of circuits in neuronal pools
Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools Axon

  • Divergent – information spreads from one neuron to several neurons or from one pool to several pools.

    • One motor neuron of the brain stimulates many muscle fibers

Figure 11.24a, b

Types of circuits in neuronal pools1
Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools Axon

  • Convergent – input from many neurons is funneled to one neuron or neuronal pools

    • Motor neurons of the diaphragm is controlled by different areas of the brain for subconscious and conscious functioning

Figure 11.24c, d

Types of circuits in neuronal pools2
Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools Axon

  • Reverberating –collateral branches of axons extend back toward the source of the impulse

  • Involved in rhythmic activities

    • Breathing, sleep-wake cycle, etc

Figure 11.24e

Types of circuits in neuronal pools3
Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools Axon

  • Parallel - incoming neurons stimulate several neurons in parallel arrays

  • Divergence must take place before the parallel processing

    • Response to a painfull stimuli causes

      • Withdrawal of the limb

      • Shift of the weight

      • Fell pain

      • Shout “ouch!”

Figure 11.24f

Patterns of neural processing
Patterns of Neural Processing Axon

  • Serial

    • Transmitting of the impulse from one neuron to another or from one pool to another

    • Spinal reflexes

Development of neurons
Development of Neurons Axon

  • The nervous system originates from the neural tube and neural crest

  • The neural tube becomes the CNS

  • There is a three-phase process of differentiation:

    • Proliferation of cells needed for development

    • Migration – neuroblasts become amitotic and move externally

    • Differentiation into neurons

Axonal growth
Axonal Growth Axon

  • Guided by:

    • Scaffold laid down by older neurons

    • Orienting glial fibers

    • Release of nerve growth factor by astrocytes

    • Neurotropins released by other neurons

    • Repulsion guiding molecules

    • Attractants released by target cells