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The Nervous System In Man

The nervous system of mammals

• The human nervous system consists of:

• the central nervous system (CNS) – the brain and spinal cord
• the peripheral nervous system – nerve cells that carry information to or from the CNS. Consisting
of cranial nerves from brain and spinal nerves from spinal cord and sense organs
 The major functions of the nervous system in humans are as follows
 It keeps us informed about the outside world through the sense
 It enables us to remember, think and to reason out.
 It controls all voluntary muscular activities like running, speaking etc.
 It regulates several involuntary activities such as breathing, beating
of the heart, movement of food through the food canal, etc.

Thus, the nervous system makes our body parts work

together in proper coordination, as one single
integrated unit.
The nervous system of mammals

• Receptors : The organs or cells which on receive the stimulus and set up wave of impulses
towards the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

• Stimuli = changes in the environment.

• Impulse : a wave of electrical disturbance that travels across the nerve cell and its fiber.

• Effectors : muscles or glands, which on receiving the impulse from the brain or spinal cord
contract or secrete substances.
• Receptors
• Receptors are groups of specialized cells. They can detect changes in the environment, which are called stimuli, and turn
them into electrical impulses. Receptors are often located in the sense organs, such as the ear, eye and skin. Each organ
has receptors sensitive to particular kinds of stimulus.
• Effectors
• An effector is any part of the body that produces the response to a stimulus. Here are some
examples of effectors:
• a muscle contracting to move the arm
• a gland releasing a hormone into the blood
• the blood
• Sensory Neurons: carry electrical impulses in the direction different to that of motor neurons,
from the receptors to the CNS.

• Motor Neuron: Transmits electrical impulses from the Central nervous system to the effectors.

• Relay Neuron: Relay neurons are located in the CNS. Their job is to pass electrical impulses from
the sensory neuron onto the motor neuron, so it acts like a diversion.
• the blood
• Where two neurons meet, there is a tiny gap called a synapse.
• Signals cross this gap using chemicals.
• One neuron releases the chemical into the gap.
• The chemical diffuses across the gap and makes the next neurone transmit an
electrical signal.
Central nervous system
• The CNS consists of brain and spinal cord
• The nervous tissues of CNS consists of two distinct regions :
1. Grey matter
- Consists mainly of cell bodies
- It forms outer portion of brain and central position of spinal cord
2. White matter
- Consists mainly of nerve fibres
- Forms central parts of brain and outer parts of spinal cord
Protection of CNS
• brain is enclosed in cranium of skull while spinal cord is enclosed in vertebral column
• CNS is also enveloped in three layers of tough membrane called meninges
• There is a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid which fills up ventricle of brain and central canal of spinal cord
⁻ CSF acts as a cushion or buffer for the brain, for absorbing external shock
⁻ nourish neurones inside as it enables diffusion of oxygen and food to the nerve cells
⁻ Helps in preventing collapse of CNS
• A mammalian brain can be divided into three parts
1. The forebrain: includes cerebrum, hypothalamus and pituitary gland
2. The midbrain
3. The hindbrain: contains cerebellum and medulla oblongata
• lies in the front part of brain and divided into two cerebral hemispheres
• surface of cerebrum is highly folded to increase area for coordination
• centre of thinking, memory, reasoning, imagination, learning and voluntary actions
• divided into three functional areas
1. sensory areas: receive impulses from receptors
2. motor areas: send out impulses to effectors
3. association area: correlates impulses from different receptors and assists in producing
appropriate responses
• The floor of cerebral hemisphere is called hypothalamus
• Concerned with regulation of body temperature and blood osmotic pressure, hunger, thirst and sleep

Pituitary gland produces many important hormones and is also known as master gland
Such as ADH,LH,FSH
• The midbrain consists of optic lobes
• These are concerned with visual reflexes
• Such as movement of eye balls
• lies below the back part of cerebrum
• centre for muscular coordination and involved in control of body balance
• damage of cerebellum will lead to a loss of ability to maintain balance
Medulla oblongata

• Lies below the cerebellum

• It posterior end gradually narrows down into spinal
• reflex centre for controlling involuntary actions such as breathing, heartbeat,
swallowing, coughing, sneezing and salivation
Spinal cord
• arises from medulla oblongata and runs through backbone of mammal
• internal distribution of nerve cell bodies is similar to medulla oblongata which the outer cortex
contains white matter while the inner cortex is in H-shaped and contains grey matter
• in the central region of grey matter is central canal and filled with cerebrospinal fluid
• reflex centre for controlling involuntary actions and it also transmits impulses to and from brain

• Cranial Nerves and Spinal Nerves

• all are mixed nerves carrying both sensory and motor neurones
• each spinal nerve has a dorsal root and ventral root
• dorsal root contains ganglion which contains nerve cell bodies
• Cranial Nerve
• twelve pairs of cranial nerves in mammal
• most of cranial nerves arise from lateral sides of medulla oblongata
• Spinal Nerve
• there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves in human
Spinal nerve

• cells in dorsal root ganglion are sensory neurones and impulses travel through dorsal root to
spinal cord from spinal nerve
• ventral root carries motor nerve fibres and their cell bodies are found in H-shaped grey matter of
spinal cord
Reflex action
• simple reflex action is a immediate response to an specific stimulus
without conscious control
• protective in function
• examples like withdrawal from hot objects, blinking, coughing, sneezing
and pupil size
Reflex arc
• neural pathway between receptor and effector involved in a reflex
•A pain stimulus is detected by a receptor and a nerve impulse is initiated in a sensory neutron
•The sensory neuron enters the spinal cord via the dorsal root and synapses with a relay neuron in the grey
•The relay neuron synapses with a motor neuron, which leaves the spinal cord via the ventral root
•The motor neuron synapses with a muscle (effector), causing it to contract and remove the limb from the pain
Withdrawal from hot object
Voluntary action

• conscious response to a certain stimulus

• involves cerebrum of brain and mammals are aware of all the steps of the response
• may differ from time to time as mammals can gain experiences and store them in cerebrum so they can choose how
to response to the same stimulus