Nervous System

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general functions of a neuron
1) respond to chemical and physical stimuli 2) conduct electrochemical impulses 3) release chemical regulators 4) enable perception of sensory stimuli, learning, memory, and control of muscles and glands
basic structure of a neuron
1) soma 2) dendrites 3) axon hillock 4) axon 5) axon terminals
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connected to cell body/soma by the axon hillock- where action potentials are generated at the initial segment of the axon covered in myelin with empty spots called "nodes of ranvier"; insulate signal and allow for quicker propagation of signal can form many branches called "axon collaterals" vary in length from a few millimeters to a meter
neurons+glia cells
glia cells
supportive cells oligodendrocytes and schwann cells
supply myelin in CNS; insulation mostly membrane and proteins (and some cytoplasm) cover the axon one wraps around many axons (1: many)
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schwann cells
supply myelin in PNS one wraps around axon (1:1)
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supportive cell phagocytosis of foreign object/debris (similar to immune cell)
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helps regulate external environment of neurons; regulate blood- brain barrier; keep certain thing out of the brain end-feet cover capillary surfaces or are adjacent to synapses between two neurons guide neuron growth, control chemical environment around neurons, and absorbs extra neurotransmitters from synapse (moderates interaction and monitor communication of neurons) capillary cells in the brain are joined by tight junctions
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information flow of a neuron
reception: dendrites integration/summation: axon hillock conduction: axon transmission: axon terminals
functional classification of neuron
1) efferent/motor neuron (signal "exits") 2) interneuron 3) afferent/sensory neuron (send signal inward)
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structural classification of neuron
unipolar or multipolar based on number of "poles" connecting to the soma
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membrane/resting potential
the difference in electrical potential (change in charge) between the interior and exterior of the cell requires an electrochemical gradient mostly negative inside the cell- greater amount of K+ inside the cell; greater amount of Na+ outside the cell cell has a negative membrane potential (polarized): -70mV
electrochemical gradient
chemical and electrical gradients chemical gradient: difference in solute concentration across a membrane electrical gradient: difference in charge across a membrane
why is membrane potential of neurons important?
potential energy, when activated, can be used to send signals; ions that shift, stimulate
the Na+/K+/ATP pump (active transport)
1) Na+ binds to the sodium potassium pump. the affinity for Na+ is high when the protein has this shape 2) Na+ binding stimulates phosphorylation by ATP 3) phosphorylation leads to a change in protein shape, reducing its affinity for Na+, which is released outside the cell; becomes more negative inside the cell 4) the new shape has a high affinity fro K+, which binds on the extracellular side and triggers release of the phosphate group 5) loss of the phosphate group restores the protein's shape, which has a lower affinity for K+ 6) K+ is released; affinity fro Na+ is high again, and the cycle repeats
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leak channel proteins
allow ions to "leak" back in to keep charge balance slower rate than being pumped in/out by sodium-potassium pump
action potential
large and rapid changes in the membrane potential made possible by voltage gated Na+ and K+ channels allows for rapid conduction down the axon
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graded potentials- initiation
activation of post-synaptic receptors allow for + or - charges to flow into the cell which changes the membrane potential
chemically gated ion channels
open in response to binding of appropriate neurotransmitter
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voltage gated channels
change in voltage allows channel to open, allowing for ions to rush through, down the concentration gradient
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stage 1 of action potential
resting/membrane potential -70mV channels involved: leak channels for K+ and Na+ Na+/K+/ATPase
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stage 2 of action potential
depolarization; rising beyond threshold channels involved: 1) leak channels K+ and Na+ 2) Na+/K+/ATPase 3) voltage gated Na channel (VGNaC): open immediately and close quickly; Na+ rush in quickly, making the inside of the cell more positive
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stage 3 of action potential
repolarization; falling channels involved: 1) leak channels K+ and Na+ 2) Na+/K+/ATPase 3) VGKC: K+ rush out of cell to bring cell back to more negative; open after delay and takes more time to close
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stage 4 of action potential
hyperpolarization part of refractory period cannot fire at this point channels involved: 1) leak channels K+ and Na+ 2) Na+/K+/ATPase 3) VGKC: remain open, close slowly
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stage 5 of action potential
recovery; goes back up to resting state/membrane potential channels involved: 1) leak channels K+ and Na+ 2) Na+/K+/ATPase
as the inside of the cell becomes more positive, is this depolarization or hyperpolarization?
the more _____ the inside of the cell, the stronger the electrical attraction for Na+ ions to enter the cell
Na+ and K+ are present on both sides of the cell. which of these factor into the chemical driving force fro Na+ to enter the cell?
Na+; bc the chemical concentration gradient
why does it take a stronger stimulus to re-fire the neuron during the relative refractory period?
the inside of the cell is much more negative/farther from the threshold K+ is flooding out (losing positives) of the cell quickly, therefore making the inside of the cell more negative quickly; need to let more positives into the cell, but would also be trying to get Na+ ions to go against its concentration gradient
absolute refractory
a depolarized membrane can't depolarize again once it's just fired; can't fire again occurs during depolarization and most of repolarization
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relative refractory period
once the VGNaC reset, you could depolarize again IF the signal is strong enough to reopen the Na+ channels and overcome the K+ mvmt occurs during some of repolarization, hyperpolarization, and refractory
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function of the refractory period
propagate depolarization down the axon; help push the action potential down when Na floods into the axon, some ions drift to the right (toward more negative), which causes a change in voltage and activates the next VGNaC some ions drift to the left, but doesnt fire bc need a much bigger stimulus (too negative in the refractory period)
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optimize speed of action potential conduction
low resistance (larger axon diameter): with a wider diameter, there is less resistance and pressure, therefore allowing quick flow insulation: myelin sheath insulates axon
saltatory conduction
signal "jumps" down the axon
nodes of ranvier
gaps in myelin on the axon; allow signal to "jump"
mechanism of nodes of ranvier
1) when an action potential comes down the axon and reaches a node/gap, it causes an influx of Na at the node 2) Na rushes into the axon at the node, creating an electrical force that pushes on the ions already inside the axon 3) the signal reaches the next node and creates another action potential, therefore refreshing the signal
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1) axon terminus (presynaptic cell) 2) synaptic cleft 3) post synaptic cell
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neurotransmitter release (transmission)
1) action potential (change in voltage) arrives at the axon terminal 2) Voltage-gated calcium channels open; calcium enters the axon terminal 3) calcium entry causes synaptic vesicles to release neurotransmitter by exocytosis 4) neurotransmitters diffuse across the synaptic cleft and bind to specific receptors on the postsynaptic membrane 5) binding of neurotransmitters opens ion channels in postsynaptic cell
neurotransmitter elimination
1) diffusion; some get absorbed by astrocytes and other diffuse out in to the body 2) enzyme degradation 3) re-uptake: repackage left over NT ex. SSRI= re-uptake inhibitor ( results in more NT spending more time in synaptic cleft; increases time and ability to bind to receptors)
ionotropic receptors (ligand-gated ion channels)
direct-acting NT (similar to primary messenger) 1) channel closed until NT binds to it 2) open channel allows diffusion of specific ions
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G- protein coupled receptors
indirect-acting NT (similar to second messenger) 1) NT binds to its receptor 2) G-protein subunits dissociate 3) adenylate cyclase activated 4) cAMP activates protein kinase, which opens ion channels
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excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP)
local depolarization of the postsynaptic membrane; brings the neuron closer to action potential threshold one won't be enough to fire
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inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP)
hyperpolarization of the postsynaptic membrane drive neuron away from action potential threshold
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what must occur for the postsynaptic neuron to reach the threshold to fire?
EPSPs must outweigh IPSPs
no summation
presynaptic neuron causes EPSPs that are too far apart or too weak --> they do not add together and is not strong enough --> threshold is not reached, so no action potential is generated signals summated --> too weak/far --> no fire
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temporal summation
a rapidly firing presynaptic neuron causes EPSPs that are close in time --> summation brings axon to threshold --> action potential fires multiple rapid signals--> summation --> reaches threshold --> neuron fires
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spatial summation
more than one presynaptic neuron fires at the same time --> EPSPs are generated at different locations of the neuron --> add together/summation brings axon to threshold --> neuron fires
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spatial summation of EPSPs and IPSPs
presynaptic neuron creates an IPSP it can override the EPSP created by another neuron --> EPSP brings neuron closer to threshold, IPSP brings the neuron farther from threshold --> together, (nearly) cancel each other out EPSPs and IPSPs compete; if EPSPs win, neuron fires
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serial neural processing
whole system works in a predictable, all or nothing manner reflexes: stimulus always gives the same response (ex. touch something hot --> hand pulls back)
parallel neural processing
input is segregated into many pathways; different parts of the nervous system can respond differently to same info helps brain put parts together to understand the whole ex. smelling a pickle may invoke a memory, remind you of a dislike, remind you to buy some, all at once
general organization: structural
CNS: brain and spinal cord (higher functions) PNS: spinal nerves and cranial nerves (basic functions)
general organization: functional
CNS: information processing PNS: sensory (afferent) division and motor (efferent) division sensory: somatic sensory (sense outside the body; touch, temp, sharp) and visceral sensory (sense inside the body; organs; urge to pee, eat, etc) motor: somatic nervous system (muscles; info going out) autonomic nervous system --> sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest)
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what do the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems control?
glands, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle
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reflex arc
the neural path of a reflex the sensory pathway: somatosensations --> CNS the motor pathway: CNS --> neuromuscular junction
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patellar reflexe
1) physically stretching the patellar tendon stretches the quads; activates the sensory neuron 2) nerve impulse goes to motor neuron to quad, telling it to contract, causing the knee to jerk keeps us upright as knees buckle
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upper motor neurons
efferent pathways primarily relaying info from the cerebrum to the brainstem or spinal cord synapse with interneurons if damaged, partial recovery possible
lower motor neurons
neurons having direct influence on muscles cell bodies originate in gray matter of spinal cord, but their axons extend into the PNS if destroyed, permanent paralysis