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Nervous tissue is comprised of ______ and their support cells called ______. 

neurons and neuroglia


The ____ is the functional and structural unit of the nervous system.



Discuss the general functions and/or contents of the cell body, axons, dendrites, oligodendryocytes, and synapse. 

cell body: contains nucleus and other cellular organelles. proceses info from incoming neurons

axons: send action potential and synapse on another neuron or effector organ (muscle, gland)

dendrites: processes coming off of the cell body where neurons synapse

oligodendrocytes: type of glial cell that myelinates axons in the CNS


How are neurons classified?

1. Based on connections and types of information they carry

2. Based on number of processes extending from the cell body (dendrites)


The cell bodies of sensory neurons (GSA, GVA) are located in the ___ _____ _____. Information flows from the ____ ___ of the psinal cord via the dorsal roots.

1. dorsal root ganglion

2. dorsal horn (DH)


Motor neurons carry information from the CNS or _______ ganglia to effector organs such as muscle and glands.



What are the names of cell bodies of efferent neurons? Where are they located? Where do their axons exit the spinal cord?

1. alpha motor neurons

2. located in ventral (anterior) horn (VH) of spinal cord where their axons exit via the ventral root


Describe the 2 neuron chain system in of general visceral efferent (GVE) axons. 

The cell bodies of the first order neuron are located in the brain stem or spinal cord. The second order neuron is located in autonomic ganglia. These are typically the sympathetic chain 
(paravertebral) ganglia for the sympathetic NS. Ganglia of the parasympathetic nervous system are typically located in the wall or close to the effector organ. See pg 31 of course notes for visual of parasympathetic plexuses


What are interneurons?

neurons that interconnect other neurons. sometimes connect sensory and motor neurons (such as in knee jerk reflex in spinal cord). have an integrative fxn. 99.9% of all neurons are interneurons.


What are multipolar, bipolar, and psuedounipolar neurons? Where in the nervous system are they found?

multipolar: have one axon and multiple dendrites. motor neurons, interneurons, and most CNS neurons are multipolar

biploar: have 2 cytoplasmic extensions where one serves as the axon and the other a dendrit. both processes (axon and dendrite) can have many smaller branches. are associated with receptors for special senses such as in the retina

pseuodunipolar: have one long axon that divides close to the cell body into 2 long axonal branches. begin as bipolar neurons during development. Example is in dorsal root ganglion containg cell bodies of peripheral sensory neruons projecting into spinal cord. true unipolar neurons are only seen in invertebrates


Discuss the cellular contents of the cell body (soma) or nuerons.

contains a large pale-staining nucleus (euchromatin: active gene transription). has 1-2 prominent nuceloli for rRNA transcription. cytplasm has abundant RER and free ribosomes called Nissl bodies/Nissl substance reflecting the large amount of protein synthesis. Goli apparatus further processes and packages proteins. Have numerous mitochondria due to high energy needs. Please see pg 33 of course notes for an EM of the soma.


What 2 cellular components are not in the axon hillock? What does the axon hillock do?

There are no Nissl bodies or Golgi apparatuses in the axon hillock (no protein processing) but does contain all other cytoplasmic structures. The axon hillock is where an action potential is generated


What are the cellular contents of dendrites? What is the array and morphology of dendrites dependent on? What is contained on dendrites and what is their function? Discuss the plasticity of dendrites? 

Dendrites contain the same organelles as axons. The total array and specific morphology depend on neuronal type and location. Dendrites may contain dendritic spines: tiny proteuberances that are sites of synaptic contacts. The number of dendritic spines may change, reflecting synaptic plasticity


What are the 3 types of cytoskeletal proteins contained in neurons? Where in the neurons are they contained?

microtubules, neurofilaments, microfilaments (actin)

are located in all portions of the neuron (cell body and processes). have support functions as well as other specialized functions.


What is the location and function of microtubules? What proteins are associated with them and what are their functions?

microtubules are cylindrical assemblies of tubulin with additional associated proteins involved in axonal transport but also exist in axons and dendrites. Transport on microtubules is bidirectional: anterograde transport (away from the cell body) is performed by the ATPase kinesin and retrograde transport (toward the cell body) is mediated by the ATPase dynein. 

clinical note: some viruses (e.g. herpes) are taken up by nerve cell terminals and are retrogradely transported to cell bodies thereby gaining entrance into CNS


What are the two types of axonal transport? In what directions (anterograde/retrograde) do they occur and what types of things do they transport? Which is more important for neuronal activity?

Slow (1-4 mm/day): only occurs in anterograde direction. transports soluble proteins such as cytoskeletal proteins and enzymes. note that this is the same rate as peripheral nerve regneration!

Fast (20-400 mm/day): occurs in anterograde and retrograde direction. transports neurotransmitter precursor vesicles, some neurotransmitters, mitochondria, lysosomes, membrane components

Fast axonal transport is more important for neuronal activity


What type of cytoskeletal protein are neurofilaments? What are their functions? How are they visualized histologically?

Neurofilaments are a type of intermediate filament in the cytokeratin family. Is a ropelike assembly of polymers. Have support functions and play role in neuronal development and regeneration. Are visualized with silver staining as "neurofibrils" in all parts of the neuron.


What are microfilaments? What are their functions in neurons?

Thin twisted pairs of actin fillaments (G-actin). Anchor molecules to the membrane (such as receptors), transfer molecules to and from the cell membrane. and cause movement of growing axonal tips during development and regeneration


Discuss what occurs at a synapse and be sure to include structural components.

The presynaptic terminal ("bouton") of an axon abuts the postsynaptic cell and is separtated by a synaptic cleft. Axon terminals of the presynatic neuron contains synaptic vesicles, membrane bound packages of neurotransmitter. The postsynaptic membrane is thickened (postsynaptic density) indicating location of receptors and other molecules important in synaptic transmission. When nerve impulses arrive at a presynaptic terminal, neurotransmitter is released, diffuses across the cleft, and binds to specific receptors on the postsynaptic membrane. There may be up to 80k synapses on a single neuron (convergence)


What are the 4 categories of synapses?

1. axo-dendritic: axon synapsing on a dendrite. majority of synapses are of this type (b in picture)

2. axosomatic: axon synpases on cell body of another neuron (a in picture)

3. axoaxonic: axon synapses on another axon (c in picture)

4. dendrodendritic: dendrite synpases on another dendrite


What are chemical synapses?

contain specific neurotransmitters that can be excitatory or inhibitory (depending on NT and receptor type)


What are the 2 neuroglial cells in the PNS and what are their general functions?

1. Schwann cells and satellite cells

2. myelination and support


What cells myelinate axons in the PNS? What is myelin rich in? What are the segments btwn myelin sheaths called? What types of receptors lie btwn myelin sheaths and what does this result in as it pertains to APs?

Schwann cells myelinate peripheral axons. Myelin sheaths consist of concentric rings of Schwann cell cytoplasm wrapped around the axons, creating lamellae (layers). Myelin sheaths are lipid rich and insulate axons, increasing the speed of AP conduction. A node of Ranvier exists btwn two adjacent Schwann cells where there is no myelin sheath. The area btwn 2 nodes of Ranvier where there is a myelin sheath is called an internodal segment. Na+ channels are highly concentrated at nodes of Ranvier to allow for nerve propagation in a fast saltatory fashion from one node ot the next. The thicker the myelin sheath, the faster rate of nerve conduction. Axons larger in diameter have thicker myelin sheaths. 


How does nerve conduction velocity (NCV) relate to myelination?

Axons with thicker myelin sheaths have faster NCV while unmeylinated axons have the slowest rates of NCV. Larger diameter axons have thicker myelin sheaths and faster NCV



What are Schmidt-Lanterman's clefts? What is their function? How are they visualized in light microscopy?

Schmidt-Lantermann's clefts are small islands of Schwann cell cytoplasm btwn successive lamellae of myelin. Allows for intracellular communcation. Have characteristic fishbone appearance on light microscopy. see pg 42 and 43 of course notes


Schwann cell cytoplasm also surrounds and nurtures unmeylinated axons. Discuss the structural differences of Schwann cells in unmyelinated axons.

There are no concentric rings or nodes of Ranvier and nerve impulse propagation is therefore much slower


Peripheral ganglia (DRG, autonomic) arise from what type of embyrological cell?

neural crest cells


What are satellite cells? What is their function? Where are they found?

satellite cells are flattened cells that surround neuronal cells bodies in peripheral ganglia (DRG, autonomic) and are analogous to Schwann cells. Funciton in maintaining a controlled microenvironment around the neuron, provide electrical insulation, and proivde a path for metabolic exchange


What type of neurons are located in DRG? What are histological features of these cells? What support cells are they asscoiated with? Do synapses occur in the DRG?

DRG contains cell bodies of pseudounipolar neurons. Their nuclei are centrally located and are completely surrounded by satellite cells. There are no synapses in the DRG. See pg 44 of course notes