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General Functions of the nervous system


What are the two major parts of the nervous system?

The central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS)

Major anatomical components of the CNS

Brain and spinal cord

What are most cell bodies in the CNS?

Interneurons and motor neurons

Major anatomical components of the PNS

Everything else; nerves (cranial and spinal)

What nerves make up the ganglia?

Sensory and autonomic nerves

What is the major aspect of the CNS?

Integrative and control centers

What is the main function of the PNS?

Communication lines between the CNS and the rest of the body

Sensory (afferent) division

Somatic and visceral sensory nerve fibers; Conducts impulses from receptors to the CNS

Motor (efferent) division

Motor nerve fibers; Conducts impulses from the CNS to effectors (muscles and glands)

Viscerosensory (visceral sensory nerve fibers)

"viscus"= organ; sensation from internal organs; part of the sensory division

Somatosensory (somatic sensory nerve fibers)

"soma"=body; sensation from skin sent down; part of the sensory division

Somatic Nervous System

Somatic motor=voluntary; conducts impulses from the CNS to the skeletal muscles; part of the motor (efferent) division

Autonomic Nervous System

Visceral motor (involuntary); conducts impulses from the CNS to cardiac muscles, smooth muscles, and glands.

Sympathetic Division

Part of the Autonomic Nervous System; mobilizes body systems during activity; "fight or flight"; innervates skeletal muscle

Parasympathetic Division

Part of the Autonomic Nervous System; conserves energy; promotes house functions during rest; "rest and relax"

What are the basic properties of neurons?

Excitability,Conductivity, and Secretion


Respond to stimuli (mechanical, chemical, and electrical)


Quickly transmits electrical signals over long distances


Releases a neurotransmitter to affect another cell


Neurons conduct signals from receptors TO CNS


Association neurons; are confined to the CNS; integrate neurons


Neurons conduct signals FROM the CNS to effectors


muscles and glands; they respond to the stimulus

Sensation, Integration, and Reaction

Each neuron is capable of performing theses basic functions of the nervous system.

Cell body/soma

Nucleus is located here along with the organelles


Bundles of actin filaments that support the cell

Nissl bodies

Concentrations of rough ER (needed for protein synthesis); responsible for making proteins needed by the cell.


Where other cells' axons usually make contact; mostly sensory neurons come into the dendrite and sent to the cell body; "processes"


One axon/neuron coming from the cell body, but then has multiple shooting off; carries info AWAY from the cell body; a SINGLE process that transmits an action potential.

Initial segment

Most sensitive to electrical charges in membrane potential; first part of the cell to depolarize; first part of an axon.

Axon collaterals

Branches that allow one neuron to communicate with multiple targets

Axon terminals

where axons terminates on their targets (neuron/target groups)

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