Transporting information across the body
The function of a neuron
A neuron's main purpose is to react to stimuli, process information, and transport this information across the body. It does this using axons and dendrites.
A historical neuron picture
Nerve terminals from a rat; 1953
A myelin sheath of a neuron
An axon surrounded by myelin from a rat.
An interesting picture showing nerve cells growing along specially modified silk. Schwann cell nuclei are shown in blue, attaching and helping the growth of nerve cells.
The 3 prevalent structures in neurons
There are three prevalent structures in neurons. Possibly the most important structures are axons and dendrites. The amount of these in neurons vary, but usually neurons have one axon and many dendrites. Dendrites are the receivers, and axons are the transporters. Axons are surrounded by myelin, which provide insulation to the cell, and speed up information transport. The third prevalent structure in neurons are microfilaments. These are found in most eukaryotic cells, but in neurons they are essential for cell support and transportation.
Pictures of some neurons and a microfilament
So how do these structures contribute to a neuron's overall function?
Neuron's are designed to intake and transport information across the body. Dendrites take in information from the environment around them. This information then is transported through the axons where the information then goes to other cells. The whole time microfilaments provide cell support and transport materials in the neuron, and cell support is important for such an abstractly shaped cell.
What do these neurons even make?!?!
Neurons create nervous tissue, which in turn creates various organs, such as the brain and spinal cord. They also make up nerves, which are series of neurons that connect to the brain or spiral cord. All of these parts belong to the nervous system.
Below- Nervous tissue on a slide
So how does the cell contribute to the overall function of the organs?
Neurons are designed to react to stimuli and transmit this information. The tissue that neurons create have this same purpose. The spinal cord is essentially a very long (17-18 inches) cluster of these tissues that information travels upon easily.