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Introduction to Cells Comprising the Nervous System

Chapter
Part of the Advances in Neurobiology book series (NEUROBIOL, volume 9)

Abstract

The brain consists of neurons and glial cells. Neurons are responsible for integrating input and responding to stimuli from both the internal and the external environment. The integration occurs via electrical and chemical signals that impinge on the receptive area of neurons known as dendrites, and the response is via propagation of an axonal potential. Glial cells have three functionally distinct subtypes, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia. Astrocytes perform a variety of functions responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the brain through functions such as formation of the blood–brain barrier, preserving osmolarity, and the uptake, degradation, and secretion of neurotransmitters. Oligodendrocytes are responsible for the production of myelin, a lipid-rich substance that encapsulates neuronal axons. Microglia are responsible for immune surveillance and remodeling of the CNS during both normal development and injury. Together the cells of the brain form a highly metabolic and dynamic unit with robust requirements for oxygen and nutrients.

Keywords

Neuron Axon Glia Oligodendrocyte Myelin Astrocyte Microglia 

Abbreviations

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate

CNS

Central nervous system

GFAP

Glial fibrillary acidic protein

MAG

Myelin-associated glycoprotein

MAP

Microglia-associated protein

MBP

Myelin basic protein

OPC

Oligodendrocyte precursor cell

RER

Rough endoplasmic reticulum

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryPenn State Milton S. Hershey Medical CenterHersheyUSA

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