Cells of the nervous system

• Neurons are the fundamental structural and functional units of the nervous system. They are specialised for the reception, integration and transmission of information. Neurons can be broadly classed as afferent, efferent and inter-neurons (integrators and signal changers). There are about 1010 neurons in the body. Neurons act on other neurons, muscle cells and glandular cells via e neurotransmitters. The signalling functions of neurons allow the processing of

3 sensory information, and the programming of motor and emotional p y responses, learning and memory.

I * Neuroglial cells are the supporting cells of the nervous system, occupying the y spaces between the neurons. They are not excitable (not generating action potentials) and do not possess axons or form synapses, thereby not being involved in the transmission of information. They retain the capability to undergo mitosis, and secrete growth promoting molecules. Glial cells form myelin sheaths, provide nutrition to the neurons, contribute to the formation of the blood-brain barrier and are involved in the reuptake of neurotransmitters. The glial cells outnumber neurons 10:1.

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