Why are nerve cells so long?


Quick Answer

According to Albany University, nerve cells have a distinctive long, thin shape because they must be able to transmit impulses over long distances. Nerves pick up electrical impulses from all over the body, and these impulses must travel along an unbroken path to reach the brain.

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Full Answer

Centre of the Cell Science Lab explains that nerve cells in the body can reach up to 40 inches in length. Nerve cells in the brain are much shorter but have many branching pathways that also allow them to cover a lot of area.

According to Brown University, the unique shape of nerve cells plays a role in their inability to reproduce.

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