Neurons are the building blocks of our nervous system, which controls the response of the body to various kinds of stimuli. The neurons and hence, the nervous system, take only few milliseconds to respond to a stimulus. The system generates chemical signals in response to signals.
The neurons are similar in many ways to the other cells in the human body. The only aspect which makes them apart from the normal cells is their ability to transmit information to the target organ or part of the body. These neurons have the capability to communicate information in the electrical and chemical forms together.
Neurons are differentiated based on their assigned tasks in the human body. The neurons, which convey information from the brain to muscles, are called motor neurons. Those carrying signals from the different sensory cells located in different parts of the body to the brain are called sensory neurons. Lastly, the neurons which transmit information amongst other neurons in the body are called inter-neurons.
The transfer of information occurs due to the transmission both within and from one neuron to another. This process requires electrical signal transmission with the assistance of chemical messenger for information transfer.
From sensory receptors, information is received by the dendrites of the neurons. This information passes down the entire length of the body of the cell and gets passed to the axon which is a part of the peripheral nervous system. This travels along the entire length of the axon in the form of an electrical signal called action potential. From the end of the axon, the information gets passed to the dendrite of the next neuron completing the path of information transfer in the nervous system.
The adjacent neurons have a synoptic gap across which the electrical signal passes. In order to reach the information to the dendrite of the adjacent neuron, the axon of the neuron through which the information is traveling makes use of neurotransmitters or chemical messengers in order to cross the gap. The terminal in the axon releases the neurotransmitter. These attach themselves to the receptor site in the adjacent neuron, transfer the information and get reabsorbed in to the neuron so as to get re-used. This process is termed as reuptake.
There are over hundred neurotransmitters which exist in our body to enable our normal functioning. Improper functioning or interference due to drugs can cause malfunctioning of neurotransmitters causing disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, reduced perception of pain or emotions, Parkinson’s disease or schizophrenia.
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- The Difference Between Neurons And Neurotransmitters
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