Branches of the Nervous System

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1 The Nervous System

2 Branches of the Nervous System There are 2 main branches of the nervous system Central Nervous System Brain Spinal Cord Peripheral Nervous System All nerves leading to rest of body

3 Anatomy of a Neuron Dendrites = where a signal is received by the neuron Cell body = contains the organelles, nucleus of the cell Axon = signal travels down this to get to the other end of the neuron

4 Anatomy of a Neuron Myelin = surrounds the axon to speed up the signal Synaptic Terminal = end of the neuron Synapse = gap/space between neurons

5 Question What is the general pathway of a signal through a neuron? Dendrites cell body Axon Synaptic Terminals (then into the synapse to get to the next neuron or other cell)

6 Sending Signals The signal sent through a neuron is an electrical signal Based on the movement of ions into and out of the cell Causes changes in the + and charges inside the cell

7 A Neuron at Rest A neuron at rest (unstimulated) has a difference in charge (voltage) across the plasma membrane = -70 mv = resting potential This means that it is more negative inside than outside The resting potential is caused by the distribution of ions on either side of the membrane

8 A Neuron at Rest Resting potential (-70 mv) is maintained by the Sodium-Potassium Pump Pumps Na + out of cell Pumps K + into the cell Active transport

9 Ion Concentrations at Rest Ion Inside neuron Outside neuron Na + Lower Higher Cl - Lower Higher K + Higher Lower At rest, there are also open K + channels in the membrane Allows some K + to escape Leaves negatively charged molecules behind (Cl - ions, etc.) more negative on the inside than on the outside.

10 Sending a Signal: Action Potential Na + channels are embedded in the membrane of the neuron Usually, these Na + channels are closed, but can be triggered to open when the correct stimulus is received Voltage gated channels = open in response to a particular change in voltage (charge) Chemical gated channels = open in response to a chemical binding to them

11 Action Potential STEP 1: To start an action potential, some kind of stimulus (light, pressure, chemical, etc.) causes Na + channels in the dendrite to open. This causes Na + to flood into the neuron from outside DEPOLARIZATION

12 Questions Why does Na + diffuse in from the outside? Higher concentration on the outside When depolarization occurs, how is the charge inside the neuron affected? Becomes more positively charged inside What would happen if Cl - channels are also opened? Cl- would also flow in makes the inside more negative (cancels out the charge from Na+ coming in) -- HYPERPOLARIZED

13 Action Potential STEP 2: The change in voltage triggers the next Na + channel (voltage gated channel) to open. STEP 3: As Na + diffuses down the neuron, it continues to trigger voltage gated Na+ channels to open. This is what sends a signal down the neuron towards the axon terminal.

14 Action Potential STEP 4: Na + voltage gated channels only open temporarily. After a short period of time, they close and an inactivation gate opens to prevent them from opening again for a little while REFRACTORY PERIOD

15 Action Potential STEP 5: The neuron is reset (REPOLARIZED) by the opening of voltage gated K + channels. K + flows out of the neuron, making the inside more negative again. Why does K + flow out? Higher K+ concentrations inside neuron The Na + /K + pump also helps reestablish resting potential.

16 Saltatory Conduction Depolarization & Repolarization happens over and over down the axon, so the nerve impulse travels. Myelin sheaths insulate the axon, keeping ions from flowing out except at Nodes of Ranvier.

17 Saltatory Conduction Wider axons yield faster conduction because there is less resistance. Action potentials jump from one Node of Ranvier (space between myelin sheaths) to the next, speeding up the signal.

18 Communication between Neurons When the signal reaches the axon terminal, it triggers voltage gated Ca 2+ channels to open. This causes vesicles that contain neurotransmitter molecules to fuse with the plasma membrane and expel the neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft (space between neurons)

19 Communication between Neurons The neurotransmitters will diffuse across the cleft and bind to receptors on the next neuron (postsynaptic neuron). This triggers a Na + chemical gated channel to open on the postsynaptic neuron, triggering an action potential in that neuron.

20 Communication between Neurons After the signal has been sent, neurotransmitters are eliminated from the synaptic cleft by Diffusion = diffuse away Reuptake Enzyme degradation

21 Communication between Neurons Reuptake Neurotransmitters are actively transported back into the presynaptic neuron repackaged into vesicles to be released again Recycling neurotransmitters Enzyme degradation Enzymes in the synaptic cleft break down the neurotransmitter

22 Question Why is it important that our bodies / medications control nerve communication? So that signals are only sent to neurons when needed.

23 Control of Communication How can nerve communication be varied? Change conduction of impulse Change synaptic cleft size Change volume of neurotransmitters or vesicles Change number of ligand-gated ion channels on post synaptic neuron Add a chemical that binds to ligand-gated ion channels to block them or always keep them open Add a chemical that binds to neurotransmitters, so they cannot bind to the ligand-gated ion channels

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