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Mammalian Physiology

Nervous System Peripheral and Central


PHYSIOLOGY, Chapter 6 Berne, Levy, Koeppen, Stanton


• • • • • • Describe the organization of the nervous system Describe the central nervous system Discuss the different cell types in the nervous system Describe characteristics of axons Describe neuronal pools Discuss the peripheral nervous system
– Sensory receptors – Somatic motor nerves


Basic Nervous System Functions
• Sensory Input – provides the central nervous system with information about the internal and external environment Integration - CNS takes all the incoming information, interprets it, then selects an appropriate response Motor Output - executes the central nervous system commands to effect the appropriate physical response


Organization of the Nervous System
• • Central Nervous System (CNS)
– Brain and spinal cord – Integration and command center

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
– Neurons outside the CNS – Paired spinal and cranial nerves – Sensory division • Afferent fibers transmit impulses from receptors to CNS – Motor division • Efferent fibers transmit impulses from CNS to effector organs


Organization of the Nervous System 5 .

learning & memory. motor learning -Hypothalamus – autonomic and endocrine control -Basal ganglia – motor control -Cerebral cortex – sensory perception. somatic and autonomic motor output 6 . reflexes. voluntary movement -Spinal cord – sensory input.Central Nervous System CNS is comprised of brain. cognition. and spinal cord Important structures include: -Medulla – cardiovascular & respiratory control -Cerebellum – motor control. brain stem.

but higher concentration of Na+ and Cl. glucose .CNS Environment Local environment is controlled by -blood-brain barrier -buffering of neuroglia (astrocytes) -exchange between CSF and brain ECS Blood-brain barrier limits movement large molecules (proteins) and charged ions from the blood into the brain (Capillary endothelial cells of CNS have tight junctions) CSF has lower concentration of K+. and protein.than does blood (Table 6-5) 7 .

Regions of the Brain and Spinal Cord • • • • White matter – dense collections of myelinated fibers Gray matter – mostly soma and unmyelinated fibers Sensory neurons enter via the dorsal root Motor neurons exit via the ventral root 8 .

Histology of Nerve Tissue • The two principal cell types of the nervous system are: – Neurons – excitable cells that transmit electrical signals – Supporting cells – cells that surround and wrap neurons • The supporting cells (neuroglia or glial cells): – Provide a supportive scaffolding for neurons – Segregate and insulate neurons – Guide young neurons to the proper connections – Promote health and growth 9 .

Neuroglia: Astrocytes • • • Most abundant. and cover capillaries Functionally. and highly branched glial cells They cling to neurons and their synaptic endings. they: – Support and brace neurons (glial filaments in cytoplasm) – Anchor neurons to their nutrient supplies (capillaries & pia matter) – Control the chemical environment (take-up K+ & neurotransmitters) 10 . versatile.

Neuroglia: Microglia • Small. ovoid cells with spiny processes – Phagocytes that monitor the health of neurons – Remove cellular debris when CNS is damaged 11 .

Neuroglia: Ependymal Cells • Range in shape from squamous to columnar – Line the central cavities of the brain and spinal column – Form the epithelium that separates CNS from cerebral spinal fluid in the ventricles – Lie between the brain extracellular space and theCSF 12 .

Neuroglia: Oligodendrocytes • • • Branched cells that wrap CNS nerve fibers – produce myelin sheath for neurons in the CNS One oligodendrocyte myelinates many neurons CNS version of Schwann cells 13 .

Neurons (Nerve Cells) • Structural units of the nervous system – Composed of a body. and have a high metabolic rate • Their plasma membrane functions in: – Electrical signaling – Cell-to-cell signaling during development 14 . axon. and dendrites – Long-lived. amitotic (non-divisible).

Neurons (Nerve Cells) Basic Elements -Soma (cell body) -Dendrites -Axon 15 .

Development of Neurons • • • The nervous system originates from the neural tube and neural crest The neural tube becomes the CNS There is a three-phase process of differentiation: – Proliferation of cells needed for development – Migration – cells become amitotic and move externally – Differentiation into neuroblasts 16 .

Axonal Growth • Guided by: – – – – – – Scaffold laid down by older neurons Orienting glial fibers Release of nerve growth factor by astrocytes Neurotropins released by other neurons Repulsion guiding molecules Attractants released by target cells N-CAM – nerve cell adhesion molecule Important in establishing neural pathways Without N-CAM. neural function is impaired Found in the membrane of the growth cone • NCAM – – – – 17 .

Nerve Cell Body (Soma) • • • • • • Contains the nucleus and a nucleolus Is the major biosynthetic center Is the focal point for the outgrowth of neuronal processes Has no centrioles (hence its amitotic nature) Has well-developed Nissl bodies (rough ER) Contains an axon hillock – cone-shaped area from which axons arise 18 .

Dendrites of Motor Neurons • • • • • Short. or input. regions of the neuron Electrical signals are conveyed as graded potentials (not action potentials) (calcium spikes) Account for 90+% of surface area 19 . tapering. and diffusely branched processes Extensions of neuronal cell body They are the receptive.

Golgi apparatus • Function – Generate and transmit action potentials – Secrete neurotransmitters from the axonal terminals – Axonal transport 20 . free ribosomes.Axons • Structure – – – – – Slender processes of uniform diameter arising from the hillock Long axons are called nerve fibers Normally there is only one unbranched axon per neuron Axonal terminal – branched terminus of an axon Lack rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Axonal Transport • • • Distribution of membrane and cytoplasmic components from soma to points along the axon (especially to axon terminus) Energy supplied by glucose Fast axonal transport – Membrane-bound organelles and mitochondria – Synaptic vesicles – 400 mm/day • Slow axonal transport – Cytoplasmic prioteins – 1 mm/day 21 .

Axonal Transport • Transport facilitated by microtubules – Organelles attach to microtubules – Movement triggered by calcium • • Microtubule motor proteins are required for transport – Kinesin and Dynein Axonal transport is bidirectional – Anterograde axonal transport (soma to axonal terminals) • Kinesin – replenishment of synaptic vesicles and enzymes responsible for neurotransmitter synthesis – Retrograde axonal transport (axonal terminals to soma) • Dynesin – return of synaptic vesicles to soma for lysosomal degradation 22 .

fatty (protein-lipoid).Myelin Sheath • Whitish. 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 • 23 .

Myelin Sheath and Neurilemma Formation • • Formed by Schwann cells in the PNS A Schwann cell: – Envelopes an axon in a trough – Encloses the axon with its plasma membrane – Has concentric layers of membrane that make up the myelin sheath • Neurilemma – remaining nucleus and cytoplasm of a Schwann cell 24 .

Nerve Fiber Classification • Nerve fibers are classified according to: – Diameter – Degree of myelination – Speed of conduction • Functional: – Sensory (afferent) — transmit impulses toward the CNS – Motor (efferent) — carry impulses away from the CNS – Interneurons (association neurons) — shuttle signals through CNS pathways 25 .

Synaptic Transmission Neurons communicate across synapses using neurotransmitters –Released from presynaptic membrane –Binds to receptor on post synaptic membrane –Acetylcholine is neurotransmitter in PNS 26 .

Types of Synapses • • • Axodendritic – synapses between the axon of one neuron and the dendrite of another Axosomatic – synapses between the axon of one neuron and the soma of another Other types of synapses include: – Axoaxonic (axon to axon) – Dendrodendritic (dendrite to dendrite) – Dendrosomatic (dendrites to soma) 27 .

↑ K+ permeability] 28 .Synaptic Transmission • Excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSP) – Cause depolarization which may or may not reach threshold [↑ Na+ permeability] – Temporal summation: summing several EPSPs from one presynaptic neuron – Spatial summation: summing EPSPs from several different presynaptic neurons • Inhibitory postsynpatic potentials (IPSP) – Cause hyperpolarization [↑ Cl.permeability.

Termination of Synaptic Transmission • 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 (ie. and bind to receptors – Synaptic delay – time needed to do this (0.3-5. diffuse across the synapse. Acetylcholinesterase) – Are reabsorbed by astrocytes or the presynaptic terminals – Diffuse from the synaptic cleft • Synaptic Delay – Neurotransmitter must be released.0 ms) – Synaptic delay is the rate-limiting step of neural transmission 29 .

Neural Integration: Neuronal Pools • Functional groups of neurons that: – Integrate incoming information – Forward the processed information to its appropriate destination • 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: a smell may remind one of the odor and associated experiences 30 .

Organization of a Neuronal Pool in the CNS Each input fiber divides numerous times providing innumerable terminal fibrils to synapse with the cell bodies (dendrites) of the neurons in the pool Input Output 31 .

Neuronal Pools • Simple neuronal pool – Input fiber – presynaptic fiber – Discharge zone – neurons most closely associated with the incoming fiber – Facilitated zone – neurons farther away from incoming fiber 32 .

Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools • Divergent – one incoming fiber stimulates ever increasing number of fibers – Within a pathway to amplify the signal – Into multiple tracts to send the signals to separate areas 33 .

resulting in either strong stimulation or inhibition Convergence of signals – Multiple inputs from a single neuron – Inputs from multiple neurons 34 .Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools • • Convergent – opposite of divergent circuits.

Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools • Reverberating circuit – chain of neurons containing collateral synapses with previous neurons in the chain making a positive feedback loop – continuous output signal . breathing.control of rhythmic activities such as sleep-wake cycle. walking etc 35 .

Types of Circuits in Neuronal Pools • Parallel after-discharge – incoming neurons stimulate several neurons in parallel arrays which stimulate a common output cell – complex neural functions such as calculations 36 .

and glands 37 . cardiac muscle. and joints to the brain – Visceral afferent fibers – transmit impulses from visceral organs to the brain • Motor (efferent) division – Transmits impulses from the CNS to effector organs – Somatic nervous system • Conscious control of skeletal muscles – Autonomic nervous system (ANS) • Two divisions – sympathetic and parasympathetic • Regulates smooth muscle.Peripheral Nervous System • Sensory (afferent) division – Sensory afferent fibers – carry impulses from skin. skeletal muscles.

Sensory (Afferent) Receptors Classification • • • • Special – Vision. smell. tickle. visceral pain 38 . taste. itch Deep – Position. deep pressure. nausea. heat. distension. vibration. balance Superficial – Touch. pressure. deep pain Visceral – Hunger. kinesthesia. pain. hearing. cold.

Sensory Transduction • Response of a sensory receptor to a stimulus – Chemoreceptor – Mechanocreceptor – Photoreceptor 39 .

Sensory Coding • Stimulus intensity – Mean frequency of discharge (temporal summation) – Number of receptors activated (spatial summation) • • • Stimulus frequency – Intervals between discharges Pattern of nerve impulses Adaptation – Accommodation to stimulus (slow or rapid) 40 .

Spatial summation – summation of information coming into different places on the neuron. Temporal summation – summation of information coming into the neuron with time. 41 .Neural Integration Integration: summation of information coming into the neuron.

Sensory Coding Increasing frequency of discharge in response to increasing stimulus intensity Adaptation – signal stops when stimulus becomes constant Different pattern of discharge 42 .

Sensory Coding Pattern of discharge synchronized with stimulus frequency 43 .

axon. IIb) Muscle fibers contract on an all or none basis – each fiber contracts fully when stimulated Force increases incrementally by – Recruitment (activating additional motor units) – Summation (increasing frequency of stimulation) 44 .efferent motor neuron – intrafusal muscle fibers . and all the muscle fibers it innervates All the muscle fibers in a motor unit are the same type (I. IIa.muscle spindle – proprioception Motor unit – ά-motor neuron.Somatic Motor Neurons • • • • • • ά.voluntary control γ.motor neuron – efferent – extrafusal muscle fibers .

Skeletal Muscle Fiber Types Fiber types classified by: -Speed of contraction -Energy producing pathways -Fatigue resistance -Fiber diameter Fiber type determined by neural input pattern -Slow-twitch = tonic innervation pattern -Fast-twitch = phasic innervation pattern Fiber type also determined by trophic nerve substances (axonal flow) 45 .

those with smallest diameter axons: type I → type IIa → type IIb Type I – 0 to 50% maximum force Type IIa – 20% to 100% max force Type IIb – 80% to 100% max force 46 .Motor Unit Recruitment Size Principle Weaker motor units recruited first.

large motor neurons are deactivated first Large motor neurons are more susceptible to inhibition 47 . small motor neurons recruited first When stretch is released.Size Principle for Recruitment In response to stretch.