What are neurons?

The job of a neuron (nerve cell) is to transmit electrical impulses (messages) around the body. The neurons that lie outside of the spinal cord are divided into motor and sensory neurons.

Sensory neurons

  • Transmit messages from our senses to our central nervous system.

Motor neurons

  • Transmit messages from our central nervous system to our muscles and glands instructing muscles to contract and glands to secrete hormones.

Neuron Structure

A single neuron is made up of the following components:

  • Nucleus – the control centre of the neuron, gives the neuron instructions and contains the cells genetic code (DNA)
  • Cell body – this is where the nucleus is located
  • Dendrites – these pick up electrical impulses and transmits them to the cell body
  • Axon – this is the shaft of the neuron, it transmits messages away from the cell body
  • Myelin sheath – this insulates the neuron which speeds of the transmission of electrical impulses (transport of messages)

Now see how many of those you can remember with a quick quiz!

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