Nerve cells, or neurons, receive electrochemical signals, process them and transmit them to other cells. Most often, these are other neurons, but nerve cells signal muscle cells and other active cells of the body as well. Sensory nerve cells also react to their environments, sending signals to the central nervous system in response to changes.Continue Reading
Nerve cells have four basic parts. Each has a branching series of receivers, called dendrites, that detect incoming nerve impulses or other changes to the environment. The cell body contains the nucleus and processes the stimulus to send out its own signal. This signal is sent out along the axon, a long, sometimes very long, extension of the cell that acts as a wire for the signal. The axon ends with what is known as the terminal bundle, which interacts with the next nerve cell in the chain.
Nerve cells transmit signals via a chain reaction of electron action potentials. Certain charged particles move in and out of the axon in a rapid chain reaction. This action is very fast, although not as fast as a normal electrical current traveling through a metal wire. However, to transmit coherently over a long distance, the axons need to be insulated like a wire. Myelin sheaths, made of cholesterol-type compounds, serve this purpose.Learn more about Nerves
Sensory nerve endings detect stimuli from the environment and send impulses toward the central nervous system in response to these stimuli. Efferent nerve endings carry impulses from the central nervous system to effector organs and muscles. There are many different types of motor and sensory nerve endings, and each has its own unique function.Full Answer >
The inferior alveolar nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that provides sensation and motor control to the lower jaw. It also provides pain sensation to the lower teeth. For that reason, it is sometimes also called the inferior dental nerve.Full Answer >
The vagal nerve belongs to the autonomous nervous system and aids in the regulation of involuntary bodily functions. It is more commonly known as the "vagus nerve" or "cranial nerve X."Full Answer >
A sciatic nerve diagram is a diagram displaying the sciatic nerve in relation to other parts of the body. The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and runs down the length of the entire leg. It is both the longest and widest nerve in the body.Full Answer >