Biological Psychology: Neurophysiology and the functions of Neurons. Part 2

The nervous system is made up of 2 types of cells, the gila and neurons. Gila cells gets it’s name from the Greek word for “glue”, as they provide structural support for neurons. The neurons function is processing communication and information. Both the neurons and gila work together to facilitate nervous system functions. The gila is classified by size. The largest are the macrogila, and the smaller one called microgila.  The macrogila are broken down into three types: astrocytes, oligdendrocytes, and Schwann cells which make up the myelin insulating covering of the axon fibers, made of proteins. Microgila functions as the brains clean up mechanism. when at rest these cells probe out with there branches to detect molecules that can cause cell damage from injury, a stroke or any other source that is damaging, the tiny cells of microgila move to the location of the injury and digest the damaging debris.


Astrocytes have several support functions, while having  a close association with the blood stream by means of the capillaries. these cells or star shaped hence the name astro (meaning star) which provide structural support, regulation of the extracellular chemical environment at the synapse, as well as insolation of the synapse. Oligodendrocytes provide strucural support by  means of forming mylin on axions. Schwann cells form the mylin on the axions in the peripheral nervous system. Neurons are cells that specialize in processing information and communication of the nervous system.


The Structure of Neurons: 

Neurons differ somewhat structurally from other cells as they have extending branches protruding from their cell body which are the axions and dendrites that are used to communicate with other cells. Axions carry signals to other cells. The structural support of the neuron is provided by the cytoskeleton, which is a network of filaments that provides the internal structure of the neuron.



Many dendrites (Greek for tree) which serve as locations in which information from other neurons are received. At each synapse on a dendrite,  ligand-gated ion channels operate as receptor sites within the the neural membrane which interact with neurotransmitter molecules released by nearby neurons that float across the synaptic gap, a fluid filled space between the receiving and transmitting neurons.



Most of the neurons have many number of branches called dendrites, but usually have only on axion, which is responsible for carrying signals and messages to other neurons. The axion hillock which is a cone shaped segment of the axion at the junction of the axion and cell body (soma). Action Potentials (electrical signals) rise in the axion hillock and fire down the length of axion.