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Explain the functions of a neuron.


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Solution

Neurons:
Neurons, also known as nerve cells are the most basic structural and fundamental unit of the nervous system and brain.

Functions of a neuron:

  1. The main function of neurons is to transmit signals or impulses throughout the body. The long extensions of the neurons that arise from the cell body are called dendrites and axons that mainly help in this transmission.
  2. Dendrites, which arise from the cell body or soma receive signals or impulses and transmit them to the cell body of another neuron.
  3. The cell body further extends down to the axon which has a covering of myelin sheath.
  4. To prevent short-circuiting in the neurons, the myelin sheath acts as an insulator.
  5. The impulses jump through small nodes in the myelin sheath called Nodes of Ranvier and thus reach the axon terminals.
  6. At the junction of two neurons, two types of synapses are formed chemical or electrical synapses through which impulses are transmitted further.

Chemical synapse:
In this synapse, the impulse is transmitted with the help of chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters.

Electrical synapse:
In an electrical synapse, the nerve impulses are transmitted using the channel proteins.


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