Morphological Peculiarities of the Neuron

  • I. P. Johnson


This chapter gives an overview of the morphological features of neurones that distinguish them from other cells, allow them to carry out their unique function in the body. After a brief historical review, the peculiar nature of neuronal size and shape are considered, together with the consequences of this for neuronal classification, connectivity, excitability, intracellular transport and vulnerability to injury. This is followed by a description of the ways organelles are distributed and organised within neurones and the functional correlates of this. Finally, synaptic terminal structure is considered in the context of electrical and trophic interactions


Cell Body Dorsal Root Ganglion Synaptic Vesicle Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurone Dendritic Spine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Kandel, E., Schwartz, J.H. & Jessel, T.M. (2000). Principles of neural science. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  2. Conradi, S. (1969). Ultrastructure and distribution neuronal and glial elements on the motoneuron surface in the lumbosacral spinal cord of the adult cat. Acta Physiologica. Scandinavica. (suppl.) 332: 5–48.Google Scholar
  3. Craig, A.M. & Banker, G. (1994). Neuronal polarity. Annual Review of Neuroscience. 17: 267–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Foster, M. & Sherrington, C.S. (1897). A textbook of Physiology. Part III: The central nervous system. 7th ed., London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Henneman, E. & Mendell, L.M. (1981). Functional organisation of motoneuron pools and its inputs. In Handbook of Physiology. Section. 1, Volume II, part 1 (Ed. J.M. Brookhart & V.B. Mountcastle), pp.423–507. Bethesda: Maryland. American Physiological Society.Google Scholar
  6. Hering, H. & Sheng, M. (2001). Dendritic spines: structure, dynamics and regulation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2: 880–888.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Giuditta, A., Kaplan, B.B., Minnen, J.V., Alvarez, J. & Koenig, E. (2002). Axonal and presynaptic protein synthesis: new insights into the biology of the neuron. Trends in Neurosciences 25: 400–404.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Johnson, I.P. (1996). Target dependence of motoneurones. In: The neurobiology of disease: contributions from neuroscience to clinical neurology (Ed. H. Bostock, P. Kirkwood & A. Pulien), pp 379–394. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kandel, E.R., Schwartz, J.H. & Jessell, T.M. (2000). Principles of Neural Science, 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Company.Google Scholar
  10. Mazzarello, P. (1999). A unifying concept: the history of cell theory. Nature Cell Biology 1: 13–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Novikoff, A.B. (1967). Enzyme localisation and ultrastructure of neurons. In: The Neuron (Ed. H. Hyden), pp. 255–318. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  12. Palay, S. & Chan-Palay, V. (1977). General morphology of neurons and neuroglia. In: Handbook of Physiology, Section 1, Volume I. Part 1. (Ed. E.R. Kandel), pp.5–37. Bethesda. MD: American Physiological Society.Google Scholar
  13. Peters, A., Palay, S.L. & Webster, H. deF. (1991). The fine structure of the nervous system. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Shea, T.B. & Flanagan, L.A. (2001). Kinesin, dynein and neurofilament transport. Trends in Neurosciences 24: 644–648.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Stuart, G., Spruston, N. & Hausser, M. (1999). Dendrites. Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Waxman, S.G., Kocsis, J.D. & Stys, P.K. (1995). The axon. Structure, function and pathophysiology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. P. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.University CollegeLondonUK

Personalised recommendations