Neuron: the nerve cell of the human body
What they are (definition)
Neurons are nerve cells, which play the role of driving nerve impulses. These specialized cells are therefore the basic units of the system that processes information and stimuli in the human body.
Characteristics and functions of neurons
- Neurons have three main parts: dendrites (where the reception of information occurs, it is a receptor part of the neuron); cell body (responsible for integrating information) and axons (transports the nerve impulse from one neuron to another or from one neuron to a gland or muscle fiber).
- Neurons have branched extremities (part of the dendrites).
- The transmission of nerve impulses between neurons, or from one neuron to another cell type, occurs through a physicochemical reaction.
The synapse is the place of contact (communication) between two neurons. Nerve impulse transfer at synapses occurs thanks to neurotransmitters. These are biomolecules (chemicals) produced by neurons and stored in synaptic vesicles (pockets present at the ends of axons).
An adult human has about 85 billion neurons in his body.
The branch of biology that studies the nervous system is called neuroscience.
The branch of medicine that studies nervous system disorders is known as neurology.
Last reviewed: 12/19/2018
By Elaine Barbosa de Souza
Undergraduate student in Biological Sciences, Methodist University of São Paulo.