Neurones are highly specialised cells that are responsible for propagating electrical signals around the body. They are primarily responsible for receiving information about external or internal stimuli and communicating this information to the central nervous system to elicit an appropriate response in target organs. They have specific structures that are designed to help carry out this task. However, there are variations within these structures that are specific to certain neurones that give them their own specialised function. Different structures of neurones have different functions within the body and variations of these structures effect the neurons ability to produce post synaptic potentials (PSP). To produce a post synaptic potential there must be a sufficient change in membrane potential. The resting membrane potential of the neuron is -65mV, and the membrane potential of the neurone must surpass a threshold of -40mV to produce an action potential. It does this by the influx of ions such as sodium into the cell triggered by the binding of neurotransmitters to ligand gated ion channels on the cells post synaptic membrane. As the body adapts and learns new skills the structure of the neurone changes to increase the chance of a PSP being produced and so making it easier to perform complex tasks. This is called plasticity.
The cell body or soma of the neurones is where the nucleus is found. The nucleus is the organelle that contains the DNA which codes for specific protein structures to be made. The many ribosomes within both dendrites and the soma are the site of protein synthesis. There are no ribosomes within the axon. (Oliver Khan and...
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...ith a dendrite. Axo-somatic synapses are between the axon and the cell body.
The neurone is highly adapted to serve its function. Depending on its position in the body and what information the neurone sends/ receives, its structures are specialised to this function. Axon length, axon diameter, number of dendrites and dendritic spines all play a key role in a neurones ability to produce an action potential. A neurones structures can also adapt depending on how excitable or active the neurone is, this is called plasticity. The changes in its structure effect the neurones ability to reach a sufficient membrane potential to initiate an action potential. The structure of the neurone can also effect how fast the neurone can conduct the action potential. The faster the action potential is the faster reflexes are and so reaction times to specific stimuli decreases.
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