Neural tissue is specialized for the conduction of electrical impulses that convey information or instructions from one region of the body to another.
About 98% of neural tissue is concentrated in the brain and spinal cord, which are the control centers for the nervous system.
Neural tissue cell types
- Neurons transmit signals as electrical charges which affect their cell membranes. A neuron has a cell body (soma) that contains a nucleus. The stimulus that results in the production of an electrical impulse usually affects the cell membrane of one of the dendrites, which then eventually travels along the length of an axon, which can be a meter long. Axons are often called nerve fibers with each ending at a synaptic terminal.
- Neuroglia are cells of the CNS (central nervous system) and PNS (peripheral nervous system) that support and protect the neurons. They provide the physical support for neural tissue, as well as maintaining the chemical composition of the tissue fluids and defending the tissue from infection.
Parts of Nerve Tissue (part – structure – function)
- Neuron (nerve cell)
- cell body – contains the nucleus – regulates the functioning of the neuron
- axon – cellular process (extension) – carries impulses away from the cell body
- dendrites – cellular process (extension) – carries impulses toward the cell body
- Synapse – space between axon of one neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the next neuron – transmits impulses from one neuron to the others
- Neurotransmitters – chemicals released by axons – transmit impulses across synapses
- Neuroglia – specialized cells in the CNS – forms myelin sheaths and other functions
- Schwann cells – specialized PNS cells – forms the myelin sheaths around neurons