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The Nervous System:

Are you nervous yet?


Nairee Chiranian, Lapman Hoi, and Jordan Luu

Overview
Structure and Function of
the Neuron
Structures and Functions
of the Nervous System
Sensory Mechanisms

Neurons
Basic unit cell of the nervous system
Each neuron is composed of several
structures
Cell Body
Dendrites
Axon
Synaptic Terminals

Structure of an Axon

Types of Neurons
Sensory Neurons
Responsible for Sensory input
Interneurons
Responsible for Integration
Motor Neurons
Responsible for Motor Input

Potentials of a Neuron
Method of signaling among neurons
Membrane Potential (form of interaction between ions)
Unequal distribution of ions between a neuron cell and the
surrounding fluid
Causes an electrical attraction that is a source of
potential energy
Neuron cells that are inactive are negatively charged
Resting Potential (state of ions)
Neuron is inactive and not sending a signal
Action Potential (state of ions)
Neuron is active and sending signals

Potentials are affected by


ion concentration
Potassium (K+) and Sodium (Na+)
Ions are transported by various mechanisms
Sodium-potassium pump
Passive ion channels
Gated ion channels

Changes in potential
Hyperpolarization (more negative)
Depolarization (more positive)

Threshold
Graded potential (does not exceed)
Action potential (exceeds)

Ion Distribution

Overview of Neuron
Signaling
1. During resting potential, most ion channels are closed
2. When a stimulus that causes sodium ions to enter the
cell depolarizes the membrane potential pass the
threshold, an action potential occurs
3. A positive-feedback cycle quickly releases potassium
ions and brings the cell below the threshold. Sodium
ions stop entering
4. The cells permeability to potassium ions increases
dramatically, and potassium ions return back to the cell
while sodium ions exit the cell, ending action potential
and bring the cell back to resting potential

Neurotransmitters
Chemical signals that transfer information to other neurons
Ligand-gated ion channels
Receptors of neurotransmitters

Major types of Neurotransmitters


Acetylcholine
Amino Acids
Biogenic Amines
Neuropeptides
Gases

Neurotransmission can be terminated by simple diffusion or


enzymes

Synapse and
Neurotransmission

Evolution of Axon
The rate at which action potentials
are conducted determines how fast
an animal can react to its
surroundings
Wider axons
Myelin Sheath
Adaptations result in greater
success of survival

Myelin Sheaths and


Conduction of Neurons

Supporting Cells and


White/Gray Matter
Glial Cells
Nourish, support, and regulate neurons
Produce the myelin sheaths that aid in conduction
speed

Gray matter
Bundled cell bodies

White matter
Bundled axons

The Nervous System


Central Nervous System (CNS)
Carry out integration
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
Transmits information to and
from the CNS and regulates an
animals movement/internal
environment

Central Nervous System


Vertebrate brain
Forebrain
Responsible for complex processing
Midbrain
Coordinates routing of sensory input
Hindbrain
Controls involuntary activities

Sections of an Animal
Brain

Human Brain Structure

Parts and Functions of the


Vertebrate Brain: Forebrain
Cerebrum
Divided into right and left cerebral
hemispheres
Corpus callosum: band of nerves that
allow both sides to communicate
Cerebral cortex (outer layer)
Perception, voluntary movement, learning
Basal nuclei (inner layer)
Motor control

Human Brain Structure


(cont.)

Parts and Functions of the


Vertebrate Brain: Forebrain (cont.)
Diencephalon
Thalamus
Sorting center of sensory
information
Hypothalamus
Bodys thermostat, central
biological clock, and regulation
of pituitary gland

Human Brain Structure


(cont.)

Parts and Functions of the


Vertebrate Brain: Midbrain

Brainstem
Pons and medulla
oblongata
Transfers information
between PNS and
forebrain

Human Brain Structure


(cont.)

Parts and Functions of the


Vertebrate Brain: Hindbrain
Cerebellum
No specific part
Coordinate movement and
balance, receives input
from auditory and visual
systems and hand-eye
coordination

Spinal Cord
Contains bundles of
nerves and ganglia that
extend throughout the
body which relays
information to and from
the brain

Peripheral Nervous
System
Motor system
Control of skeletal muscle

Autonomic nervous system


Controls involuntary muscles/glands
Sympathetic division
Parasympathetic division
Enteric division

Sympathetic and
Parasympathetic Divisions
Sympathetic division
Arousal and energy generation
Fight-or-flight response

Parasympathetic division
Calming and return to self-maintenance
Rest and digest

Nervous System Structure/Brain


Size and Evolution
The environment can shape how the nervous system is
organized
Lateral line systems
Detect water currents in aquatic animals

More complex, branched systems


Tetrapod animals; more sensitive to physical
stimulation
The size of certain brain structures correlates to the
functions needed for the animal
Animals that rely on scent and have a bigger olfactory
bulb
Humans: Very large cerebrum for cognitive thinking

Differences in size of brain


structure among animals

Evolution of Cognition in
Humans
Animals such as birds and primates
have high intelligence
Birds do not have a large cerebrum,
but humans do
Pallium: Neurons clumped together
Human neuron cells evolved to
organize in layers
Space-efficient, allows more
neurons, which results in a very
large brain

Bird brain vs. Human


brain

Sensory
Sensory Pathways begin with a series of steps
Sensory Reception
Sensory Transduction
Transmission
Perception
Amplification

Continued stimulation will lead to adaptation

Types of Sensory
Receptors
Mechanoreceptors
Physical touch

Chemoreceptors
Chemical compounds

Electromagnetic receptors
Electromagnetic energy

Thermoreceptors
Movement of molecules and ions

Pain receptors
Harmful conditions (extreme pressure/heat, damage to tissues)

Evolution of Sensory
Organs
Sensory organs evolved to
enhance survival
Highly developed nose to detect
scent
Extremely sensitive appendages
to detect touch
This evolution allows different
animals to adapt to their
environments

Sensory Organs of
different animals

Humans and Sensory


Organs
Compared to other animals, human
sensory organs arent as impressive
or sensitive
However, the human brain makes
up for this disadvantage by
allowing fast and complex decision
making through the information
that is received by sensory organs