86 terms

Ch 11 Fundamentals of the Nervous System and Nervous Tissue

types of glial cells monitor the health of neurons, and can transform into a special type of macrophage to protect endangered neurons?
What component of the reflex arc determines the response to a stimulus?
Integration Center
Ependymal cells ________.
Help to circulate the cerebrospinal fluid
PNS neuroglia help to form myelin sheaths around larger nerve fibers in the PNS?
Schwann cells
The sheath of Schwann is also called the ________.
What type of stimulus is required for an action potential to be generated?
a threshold level stimulas
Which ion channel opens in response to a change in membrane potential and participates in the generation and conduction of action potentials?
voltage- gated channels
An impulse from one nerve cell is communicated to another nerve cell via the ________.
A stimulus traveling toward a synapse appears to open calcium ion channels at the presynaptic end, which in turn promotes fusion of synaptic vesicles to the axonal membrane
Which neurotransmitter(s) is/are the body's natural pain killer?
That part of the nervous system that is voluntary and conducts impulses from the CNS to the skeletal muscles is the ________ nervous system.
The synapse more common in embryonic nervous tissue than in adults is the ________.
electrical synapse
________ potentials are short-lived, local changes in membrane potential that can be either depolarized or hyperpolarized
Select the correct statement about serial processing
spinal reflexes are an example
Which of the following is not true of graded potentials?
They increase amplitude as they move away from the stimulus point
Saltatory conduction is made possible by ________.
The myelin sheath
A second nerve impulse cannot be generated until ________.
the membrane potential has been reestablished
Collections of nerve cell bodies outside the central nervous system are called ________.
The sodium-potassium pump ejects two Na from the cell and then transports three K back into the cell in order to stabilize the resting membrane potential.
The sodium-potassium pump ejects three Na from the cell and then transports two K back into the cell in order to stabilize the resting membrane potential
The substance released at axon terminals to propagate a nervous impulse is called a(n) ________.
A gap between Schwann cells in the peripheral system is called a(n) ________.
Node of Ranvier
Reflexes are rapid, automatic responses to stimuli.
The Nervous System
The master controlling and communicating system of the body
Sensory input -information gathered from sensory receptors monitoring stimuli
Integration - interpretation of sensory input by the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
Motor output - activates effector organs
Central Nervous System
Brain and spinal cord
Integration and command center
Peripheal Nervous System
Paired spinal and cranial nerves
Carries messages to and from the spinal cord and brain): Two Functional Divisions
Sensory (afferent) division
Sensory fibers - carry impulses from sensory receptors in the body to the CNS
Motor (efferent) division
Motor fibers - Transmits impulses from the CNS to effector organs
Motor or efferent division
Somatic nervous system
Conscious control of skeletal muscles
Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
Regulates smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands
2 Divisions - sympathetic and parasympathetic
The two principal cell types of the nervous system are:
Neurons (10%) - excitable cells that transmit nerve impulses and perform integration
Supporting cells (90%) - Called neuroglia or glial cells these cells surround and wrap neurons to perform tasks necessary for neuronal functioning.
Types Of glial cells
Glial cells of the CNS are of 4 types
Astrocytes - most numerous, involved in care and feeding of neurons
Microglia - specialized phagocytes
Ependymal cells - ciliated cells lining CNS cavities that secrete CSF
Oligodendrocytes - produce myelin sheaths in the CNS
Glial cells of the PNS are of 2 types
Satellite cells - surround PNS neuron cell bodies, function unknown
Schwann cells - produce myelin sheaths in the PNS
General functions of Neuroglia
Provide a supportive scaffolding for neurons
Segregate and insulate neurons
Guide young neurons to the proper connections
Promote health and growth
Highly branched glial cells
Most abundant CNS glia
They cling to neurons and their synaptic endings, and cover capillaries
Functionally, they:
Support and brace neurons
Anchor neurons to their nutrient supplies
Guide migration of young neurons
Control the chemical environment
New evidence suggests they may effect integration
small, ovoid cells with spiny processes
Phagocytes that monitor the health of neurons
ependymal cells
range in shape from squamous to columnar, many are ciliated
They produce CSF, line the central cavities of the brain and spinal column, and create CSF flow
Schwann Cells, and Satellite Cells
Oligodendrocytes - branched cells that wrap CNS nerve fibers and produce myelin sheaths
Schwann cells
surround fibers of the PNS and produce myelin sheaths. Vital to nerve regeneration
Satellite cells
surround neuron cell bodies in the PNS, function largely unknown
The functional cell of the nervous system
Composed of a soma (body), axon, and dendrites (fibers)
Long-lived, amitotic, and have a high metabolic rate
Plasma membranes function in electrical signaling
Nerve cell body(soma)
Is the major biosynthetic center hence has well-developed Nissl bodies (rough ER) and Golgi
Is the focal point for the outgrowth of neuronal processes
Contains an axon hillock - cone-shaped area from which axons arise
Nerve fibers
Arm-like extensions from the soma
There are two types: axons (carry impulses away from the soma) and dendrites (carry impulses toward the soma)

Bundles of fibers are called tracts in the CNS and nerves in the PNS
In motor neurons they are short, tapering, and diffusely branched processes but do take other forms in other neurons.
They are the main receptive, or input, regions of the neuron.
Electrical signals travel as graded potentials (not action potentials) toward the soma over dendritic fibers.
Structure of an axon
Each neuron has a single slender axon of uniform diameter arising from the axon hillock.
Axons may occasionally branch along their length prior to reaching the axonal terminus.
These 90 degree branches, if present, are called axon collaterals.
Axonal terminal - the profusely branched terminus of an axon.
Function of an axon
Generate and transmit action potentials away from the soma
Secrete neurotransmitters from the axonal terminals
All substances needed for axonal activity must be transported down the axon by vesicular trafficking (involves molecular motors and microtubules)
Movement along axons occurs in two ways
Anterograde — toward axonal terminal
Retrograde — away from axonal terminal
Myelin sheath
Whitish, fatty (protein-lipoid), segmented sheath around most long axons
It functions to:
Protect the axon
Electrically insulate fibers from one another
Increase the speed of nerve impulse transmission
Myelin Sheath and Neurilemma: Formation
Formed by Schwann cells in the PNS only around axons
A Schwann cell forms the Myelin Sheath:
Envelopes an axon in a trough
Encloses the axon with its plasma membrane
Forms concentric inner layers of membrane locked together with special membrane proteins that make up the myelin sheath
Neurilemma is the remaining nucleus and cytoplasm of a Schwann cell occupying the outer layer.
Nodes of Ranvier
Gaps in the myelin sheath between adjacent Schwann cells
They are the sites where axon collaterals can emerge
They function to speed up transmission of nerve impulses
unmyenlienated axons of the pns
A Schwann cell surrounds nerve fibers but coiling does not take place
Schwann cells partially enclose 15 or more axons
axons of the cns
Both myelinated and unmyelinated fibers are present
Myelin sheaths are formed by oligodendrocytes
Nodes of Ranvier are widely spaced
There is no neurilemma
white matter
dense collections of myelinated fibers
gray matter
mostly soma and short unmyelinated fibers
Neuron Classification
Multipolar — three or more processes
Bipolar — two processes (axon and dendrite)
Unipolar — single, short process
Neuron Classification
Sensory (afferent) — transmit impulses toward the CNS
Motor (efferent) — carry impulses away from the CNS
Interneurons — shuttle signals through CNS pathways and perform integration
Nerve Impulses are:
Electrical impulses carried along the length of axons
Always the same regardless of stimulus
The underlying functional feature of the nervous system
Electrical Current and the Body
Reflects the flow of ions rather than electrons
There is a potential across the plasma membrane of all cells called the resting membrane potential.
This potential is created and maintained by the Na/K pumps.
Types of plasma ion channels
Passive channels - always open
Chemically gated channels - open with binding of a specific neurotransmitter
Voltage-gated channels - open and close in response to membrane potential
Mechanically gated channels - open and close in response to physical deformation of receptors
Operation of a Chemically Gated Channel
Example: Na+-K+ chemically gated channel
Closed when a neurotransmitter is not bound to the extracellular receptor
Open when a neurotransmitter is attached to the receptor
Operation of voltage gated channels
Example: Na+ channel
Closed when the intracellular environment is negative
Open when the intracellular environment is positive
Voltage-gated K+ channels function the same way
membrane potentials
Used to integrate, send, and receive information
Types of signals - graded potentials and action potentials
Changes are caused by three events
Depolarization - the inside of the membrane becomes less negative
Repolarization - the membrane returns to its resting membrane potential
Hyperpolarization - the inside of the membrane becomes more negative than the resting potential
Graded potentials
Short-lived, local changes in membrane potential
Decrease in intensity with distance
Magnitude varies directly with the strength of the stimulus
Alone or summed they can result in the initiation of nerve impulses on axons
Only travel over short distances
Occur only on dendrites
Involved in the process of integration
Nerve impulses
A brief reversal of membrane potential with a total amplitude of 100 mV
They do not decrease in strength over distance
They are the principal means of neural communication
Occur only in the axon of a neuron
Nerve Impulse
Once initiated it has the same physiology as an Action Potential in a muscle cell.
Initiation is by voltage gated Na channels on the membrane of the axon hillock and results from the summation of graded potentials.
Threshold - a critical level of depolarization
(-55 to -50 mV)
At threshold, depolarization becomes self-generating
Absolute Refractory period
Prevents the neuron from generating a nerve impulse
Ensures that each action potential is separate
Enforces one-way transmission of nerve impulses
Conduction velocities of axons
Conduction velocities vary widely among neurons
Rate of impulse propagation is determined by:
Axon diameter - the larger the diameter, the faster the impulse
Presence of a myelin sheath - myelination dramatically increases impulse speed
Presence and frequency of nodes of Ranvier which result in saltatory conduction
Salatory conduction
Current passes through a myelinated axon only at the nodes of Ranvier
Voltage-gated Na+ channels are concentrated at these nodes
Action potentials are triggered only at the nodes and jump from one node to the next
Much faster than conduction along unmyelinated axons
Muktiple Sclerosis
An autoimmune disease that mainly affects young adults
Symptoms: visual disturbances, weakness, loss of muscular control, and urinary incontinence
Immune cells attack and damage the neurilemma and myelin sheath
Shunting and short-circuiting of nerve impulses occurs
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
The advent of disease-modifying drugs including interferon beta-1a and -1b, Avonex, Betaseran, and Copazone:
Hold symptoms at bay
Reduce complications
Reduce disability
A junction that mediates information transfer from one neuron:
To another neuron
To an effector cell
Postsynaptic neuron
- transmits impulses away from the synapse
Presynaptic neuron
- conducts impulses toward the synapse
Electicical Synapses
No Neurotransmitters
Are less common than chemical synapses
Correspond to gap junctions found in other cell types
Are important in the CNS in:
Arousal from sleep
Mental attention
Emotions and memory
Ion and water homeostasis
Chemical synapses
Specialized for the release and reception of neurotransmitters
Typically composed of two parts:
Axonal terminal of the presynaptic neuron, which contains synaptic vesicles filled with neurotransmitters
Receptor region on the postsynaptic neuron
Synaptic cleft
Fluid-filled space separating the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons
Prevents nerve impulses from directly passing from one neuron to the next
Transmission across the synaptic cleft:
Is a chemical event (as opposed to an electrical one)
Ensures one-way communication between neurons
Synaptic cleft information transfer
Nerve impulses reach the axonal terminal and open Ca2+ channels
Neurotransmitter is released into the synaptic cleft via exocytosis
Neurotransmitter crosses the cleft and binds to receptors
Ion channels open, causing an excitatory or inhibitory effect
Synaptic Cleft: Information Transfer
Termination of Neurotransmitter Effects
Neurotransmitter bound to a postsynaptic neuron:
Produces a continuous postsynaptic effect
Blocks reception of additional "messages"
Must be removed from its receptor
Removal of neurotransmitters occurs when they:
Are degraded by enzymes
Are reabsorbed by astrocytes or the presynaptic terminals
Diffuse from the synaptic cleft
synaptic delay
Neurotransmitter must be released, diffuse across the synapse, and bind to receptors
Synaptic delay - time needed to do this (0.3-5.0 ms)
Synaptic delay is the rate-limiting step of neural transmission
Post synaptic potentials
Neurotransmitter receptors mediate changes in membrane potential according to:
The amount of neurotransmitter released
The amount of time the neurotransmitter is bound to receptors
The two types of postsynaptic potentials are:
Excitatory postsynaptic potentials
Inhibitory postsynaptic potentials
Summation of potentials
A single potential cannot induce a nerve impulse at the axon hillock
Potentials must summate temporally or spatially to induce an action potential
Temporal summation - all potentials are received from the same terminal
Spatial summation - postsynaptic neuron is stimulated by a large number of terminals at the same time
Both inhibitory (-) and excitatory (+) potentials sum
Chemicals used for neuronal communication with the body and the brain
50 different neurotransmitters have been identified
Classified chemically and functionall
Chemical transmitters
Classified into chemical families
Acetylcholine (ACh)
Biogenic amines
Amino acids
Novel messengers:
ATP and dissolved gases NO and CO
Neurotransmitters: Biogenic Amines
Catecholamines - dopamine, norepinephrine (NE), and epinephrine
Indolamines - serotonin and histamine
Broadly distributed in the brain
Play roles in emotional behaviors and our biological clock
Neurotransmitters: Amino Acids
GABA - Gamma ()-aminobutyric acid
Found only in the CNS
Neurotransmitters: Peptides
Substance P - mediator of pain signals
Beta endorphin, dynorphin, and enkephalins
Act as natural opiates; reduce pain perception
Bind to the same receptors as opiates and morphine
Gut-brain peptides - somatostatin, and cholecystokinin
Neurotransmitters: Novel Messengers ATP
Is found in both the CNS and PNS
Produces excitatory or inhibitory responses depending on receptor type
Induces Ca2+ wave propagation in astrocytes
Provokes pain sensation
Neurotransmitters: Novel Messengers
Nitric oxide (NO)
Activates the intracellular receptor guanylyl cyclase
Is involved in learning and memory
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a main regulator of cGMP in the brain
May explain narcotic effects of Nitrogen under pressure and CO excess
Functional Classification of Neurotransmitters
Two classifications: excitatory and inhibitory
Excitatory neurotransmitters cause depolarizations
Inhibitory cause hyperpolarizations
Some have both excitatory and inhibitory effects
Determined by the receptor type of the postsynaptic neuron
Example: acetylcholine
Excitatory at neuromuscular junctions
Inhibitory in cardiac muscle
Neurotransmitter Receptor Mechanisms
Direct: neurotransmitters that open ion channels
Promote rapid responses
Examples: ACh and amino acids
Indirect: neurotransmitters that act through second messengers
Promote long-lasting effects
Examples: biogenic amines, peptides, and dissolved gases
Neural Integration: Neuronal Pools
Functional groups of neurons that:
Integrate incoming information
Forward the processed information to its appropriate destination
Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools
Divergent - one incoming fiber stimulates ever increasing number of fibers, often amplifying circuits

Convergent - opposite of divergent circuits, resulting in either strong stimulation or inhibition

Reverberating - chain of neurons containing collateral synapses with previous neurons in the chain

Parallel after-discharge - incoming neurons stimulate several neurons in parallel arrays
Patterns of Neural Processing
Serial Processing
Input travels along one pathway to a specific destination
Works in an all-or-none manner
Example: spinal reflexes
Parallel Processing
Input travels along several pathways
Pathways are integrated in different CNS systems
One stimulus promotes numerous responses
Example: smell may remind one of associated experiences