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Functional Divisions of the Nervous System

PNSnerve cells (neurons) are in clustered into GANGLIA

axons grouped into NERVES

Nervous system can be divided into two parts.

1. Central Nervous System (CNS)brain and
spinal cord.
2. Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)cranial and
spinal nerves.
PNS can be divided into two parts:
1. Sensory component provides input to
2. Motor components relay output from CNS
Two parts to the Motor output:
1. Involuntary visceral motor system includes
three divisions:
Sympathetic (fight or flight)
Parasympathetic (rest and relax)
Enteric (influences gastric motility and
2. Voluntary somatic motor system.
Both of these control effectors.

CNSneurons are in either sheetscalled CORTICES or in clusterscalled NUCLEI

axons are grouped into TRACTS

Direction of Neural Information Flow

Afferent information is
sensory information coming
into the CNS (incoming
Efferent information is
information leaving the CNS
(outgoing information).

Finding Your Way Around the Brain (Part 1 of 2)

Brain-Body Orientation
Horizontal Animals and
Spinal Cord of Humans:
Rostral = toward the head
(also called anterior in animals)
Caudal = toward the tail
(also called posterior in animals)
Dorsal = toward the back
(also called posterior in humans)
Ventral = toward the belly
(also called anterior in humans)

Spatial Orientation Terms:

Medial = toward the middle
Lateral = toward the side
Ipsilateral = same side
Contralateral = opposite side
Proximal (limbs) = toward the center
Distal (limbs) = toward the periphery
Superficial = near the surface
Deep = toward the center

Because of the curvature

of the CNS in humans,
positional terms for the
brain are used
Rostral = toward the nose
Caudal = toward the back
of the head
Dorsal = toward the top of
the head
(also called superior)
Ventral = toward the jaw
(also called inferior)

Finding Your Way Around the Brain (Part 2 of 2)

Anatomical Orientation
When brains are sectioned for analysis, slices are typically made in one
of three planes: coronal, sagittal or horizontal.

Medial means toward the

middle of the brain
and lateral toward the side.

Surface Features of the Brain

Gyrus (pl. gyri)
A small protrusion or
bump formed by the
folding of the cerebral

Sulcus (pl. sulci)

A groove in brain matter,
often found in the
neocortex or cerebellum.

A very deep sulcus.

Surface Features of the Brain



surface area to be packed into skull

separates FRONTAL (most rostral) from the
PARIETAL (more caudal)

GYRI (singular: gyrus)ridges

SULCI (singular: sulcus)valleys
FISSURESdeep valleys

separates FRONTAL from TEMPORAL

Lobes: named for the skull bones that overlie them.

separates left hemisphere from right


sends information to the MOTOR NEURONS in spinal cord which control skeletal muscles
receives sensory information from cells in the spinal cord

Internal Features of the Brain: the Ventricles

Four Ventricles (two lateral, third and fourth: cavities in the brain that contain
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)) made by the cells of the CHOROID PLEXUS.
CSF: Fills the ventricles and circulates around the brain and spinal cord in
the subarachnoid space (located between the arachnoid layer and the pia
Provides nutrients and also cushions the brain (acts like a shock absorber).

Surface Features of the Brain

Meninges: Three layers of protective tissue located just below the skull.
Dura mater
hard mother; tough outer layer of fibrous tissue.
Arachnoid layer
like a spiders web; thin sheet of delicate connective tissue.
Subarachnoid space filled with cerebral spinal fluid (CSF).

Pia mater
soft mother; moderately tough inner layer that clings to the brains
throughout the arachnoid
Traumasuch as a blow to the head
can cause bleeding here.

Internal Features of the Brain: Macroscopic

Gray Matter
Areas of the nervous system predominately composed of cell bodies and blood vessels
White Matter
Areas of the nervous system rich in fat-sheathed neural axons
Corpus Callosum
Fiber system connecting the two cerebral hemispheres
Coronal sections
of my brain
make me smile

Internal Features of the Brain: Microscopic

Two main types of cells:
Carry out the brains major functions.
Approximately 100 billion.

Glial cells
Support cells aid and modulate neuronal activity.
Approximately 400 billion.
Glia: Neuron ratio is 4:1. Think chocolate chip cookie.

Groups of axons running together form either nerves (PNS) or tracts (CNS)

Inside the CNS

Nucleus: a group of
Tract: a bundle of
Outside the CNS
Ganglion: a group of
Nerves: a bundle of

Sizes of Some Neural Structures and the Units of Measure and Magnification
Used in Studying Them

15 cm (size of human brain)
= 3000 miles


0.5 nm = 1/10 inch

The Major Parts of the Neuron

Input zonereceives
information from other cells
through dendrites.
Integration zonecell
body (or soma) and axon
hillockregion where inputs
are summed.
Conduction zonesingle
axon (or nerve fiber)
conducts output information
away from the cell body as
an electrical impulse.
Output zoneaxon
terminals at the end of the
axon communicate activity
to other cells.

Neurons Can Be Classified by Shape

Multipolar neurons
one axon, many
dendrites; most
common type.
Bipolar neurons
one axon, one major
Unipolar neurons
a single extension
branches in two
directions, forming
an input zone and an
output zone.


Cells of the Nervous System

To understand nervous system, it is important to be able to look at the function of individual cells.
(Bottom-up approach.)
Until 20th century,
Two camps

First camp: Camillo Golgi developed a method that stained only a small number of nerve cellsbut
stained them in their entirety. Golgi thought that nervous system was a reticulum of interconnect
nerve cells (a nerve net).
Second camp: Santiago Ramon y Cajal used Golgis method to look at cells in the
brain and concluded that cells were all separate. He thought that
individual neurons were the units of brain function.
Turned out he was right.
IronyGolgi developed the stain that proved Cajals theory.
(They still shared the Nobel prize in 1906the first time that two scientists shared a prize.)

Types of Neurons
Sensory Neurons
Carry information toward
the central nervous system (afferent).
Bipolar neurons in the retina convey information about light and dark to
the brain from the eye.

Somatosensory neurons convey information about touch and pressure to

the brain from the surface of the skin.
Sensory neurons leading from muscle
detect muscle length and
relay that information to the
spinal cord.

Types of Neurons
(aka Association Neurons)
Link up sensory and motor activity
within the central nervous system.
Neurons in the spinal cord that couple the
afferent input with the efferent output in the knee-jerk reflex.

Types of Neurons
Motor Neurons
Carry information away from
the central nervous system (efferent)
to muscles.
Alpha motor neuron that leads from the spinal cord and causes
contraction of muscles in the knee jerk reflex.

Five Types of Glial Cells (supporting cells

for neurons)
1. Ependymal Cells
Small, ovoid; found in the
walls of the ventricles.
Make and secrete
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Treatment of hydrocephalus typically involves the
insertion of a shunt (a hollow flexible tube) into the
ventricular system of the brain which then diverts the
flow of cerebrospinal fluid into another region of the
body (often the abdominal cavity or a chamber of the
heart) where it can be absorbed.

Hydrocephalus (water on the brain)

Build-up of pressure in the brain and swelling of the head caused
when the flow of CSF is blocked.
Can result in retardation in children. Usually caused by tumors,
hemorrhages, or congenital malformations.

Five Types of Glial Cells

2. Astrocyte
Star shaped.
Structural support for
neurons. They act like
scaffolding holding neurons in
Enhance brain activity by
providing fuel to active brain
regionswhen neurons are
active, astrocytes convey
information to blood vessels
to dilate and allow more blood
flow to those active neurons.

The Blood-Brain Barrieranother role for astrocytes

Brain is separated from blood supply.

Important because brain may be particularly
susceptible to toxins that may be in the blood.
In the rest of the body, molecules in blood pass
through spaces between endothelial cells that make
up the capillary wall.
Foot processes on astrocytes trigger tight junction
formation on blood vessels preventing passage of
molecules between blood and brain.
One drawback of BBB---therapeutic drugs cannot
enter brain via venous injection: they must be injected
into CSF or directly into brain.

Five Types of Glial Cells

3. Microglia
debris (e.g.,
dead cells).

Five Types of Glial Cells

4. Oligodendroglia Cell
Glial cell in the
central nervous system
that myelinates axons.
Myelination allows for faster
signal conduction in axons

(Each myelinates multiple neurons)

Five Types of Glial Cells

5. Schwann Cell
Glial cell in the
peripheral nervous system that
myelinates axons
(Each myelinates a single neuron)

Figure at right shows how oligodendrocytes

and Schwann cells differ in the way they wrap axons.
Oligodendroglia Cell

Glial coating that
surrounds axons.
Coating that allows
signal to jump from
node to node (think
sidewalk cracks).

Multiple Sclerosis
disease associated
with loss of myelin.

Schwann cells play an important role in neuronal cell regeneration

The peripheral nervous system consists of

nerves, or bundles of axons.
Motor nerves transmit information from
spinal cord and brain to muscles and glands.
Sensory nerves convey information from the
body to the CNS.

Peripheral nervous system has three parts:

Cranial nervesconnected to the brain.
Spinal nervesalso called somatic nerves,
connected to the spinal cord.
Autonomic nervesconnected to brain and spinal
cord and control glands and internal organs.

Cranial nerves12 pairs

Three are purely sensory pathways to the
Olfactory (I)smell
Optic (II)vision
Vestibulocochlear (VIII)hearing and balance

Cranial nerves12 pairs

Five are purely motor
pathways from the
Oculomotor (III)eye
Trochlear (IV)eye
Abducens (VI)eye
Spinal Accessory (XI)
neck muscles
Hypoglossal (XII)

Cranial nerves12 pairs

Four are mixed sensory

and motor:
Trigeminal (V)facial
sensation, chewing
Facial (VII)facial
muscles, taste sensation
Glossopharyngeal (IX)
throat sensation, throat
Vagus (X)heart, liver,
and intestines

Spinal Cord
Controls most body movements.
Can act independently of the brain.
Spinal reflex:
Automatic movement.
Hard to prevent (brain cannot easily inhibit)
Example: knee-jerk (myotatic) reflex.

The spinal cord can be divided into distinct regions.

Spinal nerves31 pairs

Each spinal nerve consists of a group of motor fibers that project from the spinal cord and a group of
sensory fibers that enter the spinal cord.
Spinal nerves are named for the segment of spinal cord they are connected to:
Cervical (neck)8 segments
Thoracic (trunk)12 segments
Lumbar (lower back)5 segments
Sacral (pelvic)5 segments
Coccygeal (bottom)1 segment

Spinal Nerves
Dorsal fibers are afferent: they
carry information from the bodys
sensory receptors.
Ventral fibers are efferent: they
carry information from the spinal
cord to the muscles.

The myotatic (knee-jerk) reflex does not involve the brain

The autonomic nervous system is the main system for controlling

the bodys organs.
Two major divisions:
Sympathetic nervous system has axons that innervate the
sympathetic ganglia, small clusters of neurons outside the CNS.

Sympathetic innervation prepares the body for action

The fight-or-flight system.

Parasympathetic nervous system


Parasympathetic neurons run from the CNS to the

parasympathetic ganglia.

Parasympathetic activity helps the body to relax, recuperate,

and prepare for future action
The rest and digest system.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems have different effects on

organs due to different neurotransmitters.

Preganglionic neurons are short.

Postganglionic neurons are longer (sympathetic ganglionic chain is close to spinal cord).


Preganglionic neurons are long.

Postganglionic neurons are shorter (parasympathetic ganglia are close to organs).

Visualizing the Living Human Brain

A measure of X-ray absorption at several

positions around the head.
It generates an anatomical map of the
brain based on tissue density.
Advantage: very quicktakes only a few
not very good at detecting small differences
(has a low resolution).
Better at detecting hard tissues like bone.
Also, depends on X-rays which can be

Visualizing the Living Human Brain

Strong magnets cause protons in brain

tissue to line up in parallel.
A pulse of radio waves is used to knock
protons over.
Protons then reconfigure themselves,
emitting radio waves.
Different tissue densities emit different
Advantages: higher resolution than CT
scan. Doesnt use x-rays.
Disadvantage: takes longer to do.

Visualizing the Living Human Brain

Detects the difference in blood flow to different parts of the brain during an activity.
Advantage: can detect specific areas that are more active than others during a task.
Disadvantage: interpretation of results can be equivocal. Swing voters shown the
words Democrat or Republican had their amygdala light upshowing high emotion.
But what emotion? Disgust or pleasure?

Visualizing the Living Human Brain

Temporal lobe

Advantage: Subjects can move their heads

around during recordings (e.g. a book can
be read to see where the activity is during
Disadvantages: lower resolution than fMRI,
uses radioactive dyes.

Parietal lobe

Occipital lobe

Frontal lobe

Metabolic activity can be detected

as measured by glucose utilization
more glucose means more
active areas of the brain.

Development of the Nervous System in the Human Embryo and Fetus

Human embryo develop three

cell layersendoderm,
mesoderm, and ectoderm.
Ectodermouter layer,
becomes the nervous system.
Thickening cell layers form a
groove which becomes the
neural plate.
The neural tube forms from the
neural ridges.
The anterior part of the neural
tube has three subdivisionsthe
forebrain, the midbrain, and the

Video 2.3 Brain Development

The Six Stages of Neural Development

Brain development in 6 stages,
mostly in prenatal life:
1. Neurogenesismitosis
produces neurons from
nonneuronal cells.
2. Cell migrationcells move to
establish distinct nerve cell
3. Cell differentiationcells
become distinctive neurons or
glial cells.
4. Synaptogenesisestablishment
of synaptic connections.
5. Neuronal cell deathselective
death of many nerve cells.
6. Synapse rearrangementloss
or development of synapses,

Animation 13.5 Stages of Neuronal Development

A Model for the Action of Neurotrophic Factors

Chemoaffinity hypothesis