What is a neuron?« Back to Questions List

Human body is made up of trillions of cells. The human brain is an extraordinary organ which cannot function without the neurons. Neurons are the nerve cells and billions of these cells make up our brain. They are of different shapes and sizes. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. This system plays a vital role in regulating our actions like pulling out our hands when we touch very hot objects and so on.


Their structure consists of three basic parts – cell body (soma), dendrites (nerve endings) and axon. Cell body is the main part containing the nucleus. If the body dies, the neuron dies. Dendrites or nerve endings make connections with other cells so as to enable communication with the other neurons. Axons are long wire like projections that carries signals along the length of the cell. They can be up to 1 mm in diameter.




Neurons are of three types – sensory, motor and inter neurons. Sensory neurons carry signals from other parts of the body to the brain while motor neurons carry signals from brain to other parts of the body. Interneuron connects multiple neurons within the brain and spinal cord.


neuron 1

Neurons gather electrochemical signals from all parts of body and transmit it to the brain. Electrochemical signals are electrical signals caused by chemicals. Sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium are some of the chemicals present in our body. When it is not sending any signal, it is said to be at rest. When these chemicals get electrically charged they are called ions. Action is said to take place when these ions cross the neuron membrane.


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