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Biology 30

NERVOUS SYSTEM
1. Nervous System Overview
2. The Neuron
3. Reflex Arc
4. The Action Potential
5. The Synapse / Neurotransmitters
6. Nervous System Diseases
7. Drugs
8. PNS
9. CNS
10. The Brain

General Functions

Reception
2. Conduction
3. Interpretation and Organization
1.

4. Transmission
The nervous systems main function is to
maintain homeostasis: a maintenance of the
internal environment i.e. pH, body temp,
glucose levels, BP, water levels, etc

Nervous System Organization

The Neuron- The functional unit


of the nervous system, it
conducts nerve impulses
There

are 3 kinds of neurons:

1) sensory neurons (afferent)- take impulses from the body

receptors to the CNS


2) motor neurons (efferent)-take impulse away from the CNS
and to the muscles and glands
3) interneurons- are actually in the CNS (in the brain and
spinal cord)
***Neuroglia (glial cells)- supportive cells that aid the
interneurons of the brain. Nourish neurons, removes waste
from neurons, and protect neurons.

The Neuron has 3 basic Basic parts:


1) cell body- nucleus and cytoplasm
2) Dendrites-finger-like projections of cytoplasm
of cell body. They receive information
3) Axon-extension of cytoplasm. Transmit impulse
away from the body

Some neurons contain the following


additional parts:
Myelin Sheath-a white fatty covering that insulates
the axon. Schwann cells produce the myelin sheath
Schwann cells- a special kind of glial cell that
produces a myelin sheath that wraps around the
axons as insulation
On top of protection, the myelin sheath allows
for faster conduction of impulses and greater
power of regeneration
The myelin sheath is NOT continuous but rather
forms intermitted gaps called the Nodes of
Ranvier. Impulses will now jump from Node
to Node rather then slowly moving through the
entire length of the axon. (faster impulses)

All

nerves of the PNS, as well as all motor


and sensory neurons are myelinated, only
some of the nerves in the CNS are
myelinated
Non- Myelinated neurons in the brain= grey

matter
Myelinated nerves in the brain are called white
matter

Neuron

structure

Nerves
Individual

neurons are organized into


tissues called nerves.

Repairing Damaged Nerves


Nerves

in the PNS are surrounded by a thin


membrane called the neurilemma which helps
to regenerate damaged axons

Nerves

in CNS lack neurilemmas and cannot


be repaired

Area

of research: stem cells, brain band-aid

Reflex Arc
automatic,

quick, involuntary responses to


internal or external stimuli.

does

not immediately involve the brain.

allows

quicker reaction times to a potentially


harmful stimulus

Stretch

Reflex

5 Components of a Reflex Arc:


1. Sensory receptor -senses
something
2. Sensory neuron -sends
signal to the CNS
3. Interneuron- registers
signal
4. Motor neuron -sends
response back
5. Effector- caries out the
action

Action Potential
A nerve

impulse is an action potential


An action potential is an
electrochemical event with a rapid
change in polarity (relative electrical
potential) down a nerve cell that
results in the conduction of a nerve
impulse.

Potential
1.
Resting
Potential
Polarization: voltage difference of -70mV across a nerve cell
membrane
caused

by the sodium potassium pump (gate): more sodium


is pumped out than potassium is pumped in, resulting in a
negative charge inside the axon of the neuron

also

potassium moves out by diffusion more


easily than sodium moves in

Result:

excess positive charge outside the


membrane and negative charge inside the
membrane

2. Stimulation / Depolarization
A threshold

stimulus must be applied (a change in pH,


pressure, or an electrical stimulus) This causes the sodium
potassium pump to cause Na+ gates to open and tons of Na+
rush into the cell, and small amounts of K+ to move out

membrane

becomes depolarized (+ 40 mV)

3. Re-polarization
After

the wave of impulse has move through


Na+ gates close to stop inflow

change

in electrical potential causes K+


channels to open and K+ ions rush out of the
cell

Restores

the polarized state but now is


hyperpolarized more positively
charged on the outside than the resting
state (over-shoot)

(also the ion concentrations are reversed


from the resting state )

4. Refractory period
resting

potential (-70mv) must be


restored before the neuron can fire again
Na+ are pumped out and K+ are pumped
back into the cell using ATP energy.
The

The Action Potential

The Action Potential in Action


Neuron Action Potential

Propagation

Saltatory Action

the speed of the nerve impulse is


increased by jumping from node of
Ranvier to node of Ranvier (gated
channels are found only at the nodes)

Propagation of the Action Potential

Threshold level minimum depolarization that


must be reached (usually around +30mV) before
sufficient Na+ gates open to continue the action
potential
All or None Response if the threshold level is
not reached, the action potential will not occur at
all. If the threshold is reached or exceeded a full
action potential will result.
The wave of depolarization is self propagating,
meaning that it will continue without any aid until
its passed on to the next neuron

How do we differentiate intensity? Ex


hot vs warm?

Intensity is determined by:


1. the number of neurons that fire
simultaneously
2. the frequency at which the neurons fire
3. the threshold level of different neurons
(lower threshold neurons are more likely to
fire, and are found in more sensitive
areas)

The Synapse and


Neurotransmitters
Neurons

are NOT physically attached to


each other, but are separated by a gap
(synaptic cleft), the electrical impulse
cannot just simply cross the gap to the next
dendrite, something is needed
Neurotransmitters are stored in synaptic
vesicles of the axon and are released to carry
the information across this synaptic gap

The Synapse

Terminal
Axon

Structures in the Synapse


Pre-synaptic

membrane membrane
found at the synaptic ending of the neuron
sending information

Post-synaptic

membrane- membrane
found at the dendrite of the neuron
receiving information

Synaptic

cleft space between the pre and


post synaptic membranes.

Neurotransmitters continue the


impulse across the synaptic cleft
Crossing the impulse across the gap is a chemical
reaction
1) The end of pre-synaptic axon contains vesicles that

have specialized neurotransmitters (NTs), as the


impulse gets to the end of the axon the NTs are
released in to the gap
2) The NTs diffuse across the gap and attached to
specialized receptors found on the post synaptic
dendrite.
3) The wave of depolarization continues on the
through the next neuron

Neurotransmitters
1. excitatory neurotransmitters cause
the opening of Na+ channels to cause
depolarization

2. inhibitory neurotransmitters block


Na+ channels and open K+ channels ions
which causes hyper-polarization
-inhibits action potentials

Summation at any given time there are


many neurons acting and releasing NTs
into the synaptic cleft, the net effect of
excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters
is called summation
ONLY if there is adequate excitation to

reach the threshold, the neuron will fire.

-may require more than one neuron

to release neurotransmitters

A response

may involve both excitatory


and inhibitory neurotransmitters

Ex)

Throwing a ball: Triceps contracts


and bicep relaxes

Integration the degree of sensation felt


or the degree of response created by
the brain depends on the number of
neurons that fire

There are 9 universally recognized


neurotransmitters: aspartate, glycine,
GABA, glutamate, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, seratonin, and
acetylcholine.

Some of the more common neurotransmitters


(and their enzymes) include:
Neurotransmitter Enzyme Function of Neurotransmitter
Acetylcholine

Cholinesteras
e

Involved with muscle contraction


of the skeletal muscles

Dopamine

Monoamine
oxidase
enzyme

Responsible for voluntary


movement and emotions of
pleasure

Serotonin

Monoamine
oxidase
enzyme

Regulates temperature, sensory


perception, sleep and involved in
mood stabilization and control

Nor-epinephrine

Regulates the stress fight or


flight response

GABA

Inhibitory action of motor


behavior

Removing Neurotransmitters
To be effective, the NTs must NOT linger around
in the gap, other wise successive impulses will
occur. NTs are removed from the gap by:
1. Degradation by enzymes in the synaptic cleft
2. Re-uptake by the pre-synaptic membrane
3. Diffusion out of the synaptic cleft
4. Inability to bind due to competitive inhibitors

The Effects of Drugs


Drug

anything that is not food that alters


the normal bio-chemistry of the body in
some way.

Stimulant

mimics neurotransmitter,
decreases rate of breakdown of
neurotransmitter or increases release
of neurotransmitter

Depressant

blocks receptor site,


decreases production of
neurotransmitter, or increases the
breakdown of neurotransmitter

Alcohol:
- depressant
-seems to enhance GABA
-leads to lack of coordinated response, and
loss of normal social inhibitions.
-may also weaken the effect of glutamine, an
excitatory neurotransmitter, leading to
sluggishness and lack of co-ordination.
Close to Home Animation: Alcohol

Marijuana:
- a depressant and hallucinogen
-acts on the canniboid receptors of the brain that
affect concentration, perception and movement.
-may have an impact on the activity of seratonin,
GABA and norepinephrine in the brain
not

physically addicting, however this is a gateway


drug and may be psychologically addicting

Cocaine:
-a stimulant
-blocks the re-uptake of dopamine, causing an
adrenaline like effect from the dopamine
-as dopamine levels increase in the synapse,
the body produces less, thus making cocaine
very physically addicting
Close to Home Animation: Cocaine

Crystal meth:
-a stimulant
-passes directly through neuron
membranes and causes excessive release
of dopamine
-leads to feelings of euphoria, psychosis,
delusions and extreme aggressiveness.

Ecstasy:
- a stimulant and hallucinogen
-affects neurons in the brain by causing an
over-production of serotonin.
-creates shorter feelings of pleasure,
however use can result in brain damage,
and cardiac arrest.

The venom of the black widow spider is


called latrotoxin. This toxin results
in a massive release of the
neurotransmitter acetylcholine from
the neuromuscular junctions of victims
and may cause muscle spasms, pain,
increased blood pressure, nausea and
vomiting.

Diseases of the Nervous


System
Parkinsons Disease: wide-eyed, unblinking
expression, involuntary tremor, muscle rigidity,
shuffling gait. Ex. Muhammad Ali
-dopamine deficiency caused by the degeneration
of dopamine producing cells in the brain
-

-caffeine may offer protection against


Parkinsons disease as it prevents loss
of dopamine

Alzheimers Disease: characterized by loss


of memory, senility, deterioration of cells in
the basal nuclei, presence of tangles and
plaques
-possibly due to a malfunction of
acetylcholine
- seems to be linked to a gene located on
chromosome #21

Schizophrenia: delusions, random


thoughts, disjointed thoughts, sensory
hallucinations
- may be the result of excessive activity of
brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine

Huntingtons Disease: progressive


deterioration of the nervous system that
leads to writhing movements, insanity
and eventually death
- seems to be caused by the malfunction of
the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA

Depression: low affect, feeling blue, lack of


or excessive sleep and eating patterns
- seems to be linked to malfunctions in
dopamine and seratonin, perhaps caused
by an excess of monoamine oxidase
enzymes

Stroke:

caused by interruption of blood


flow to the brain which causes brain cells
to perish.

Epilepsy: is a seizure disorder where


there is a sudden, un-explained surge
of electrical activity through the brain
with no specific known cause.
Epilepsy.com

Chemical Warfare
1)

Nerve Gas: inhibit acetylcholinesterase


(enzyme that removed acetylcholine from
the synaptic gap). Causes spastic paralysis
which is continues muscle spasms

2)

Strychnine: similar to nerve gas, causes


convulsions and spastic paralysis

Central Nervous System (CNS)


Is

primarily responsible for the processing


and organization of information.

The

CNS consists of two major structures:


1. The Brain
2. The Spinal Cord

Spinal Cord
Made of 31 segments
Protected by the vertebrae

Spinal Cord
Central
White
Grey

cells

Cavity contains cerebrospinal fluid

Matter contains myelinated nerve cells

Matter contains un-myelinated nerve

Spinal Cord
Dorsal

Root Ganglion entry of


sensory neurons to spinal cord and CNS,
ganglion is the collection of cell bodies

Ventral

Root exit of motor neurons


from the spinal cord

Meninges

3 protective membranes
surrounding the spinal cord and brain
(dura mater, arachnoid, pia mater)

Meningitis

is an infection of the
meninges (A spinal tap is a needle that
is inserted between 2 vertebrates into
the meninges to check for meningitis)

Cerebrospinal

Fluid circulates between


the inner and middle membranes of the
brain and spinal cord.
Provides protection, nutrient / waste

exchange, etc.

Spinal Cord

Spinal Cord Functions


1.

center for reflex action

2.

provides a pathway for communication between the brain and


peripheral nerves

The Brain

Hindbrain - The Unconscious


Brain
important for autonomic functions
required for survival

Cerebellum responsible for muscle


co-ordination, posture, coordinated
muscle movement and balance

Medulla

oblongata controls
heartbeat, respiration, blood pressure,
reflex center for vomiting, sneezing,
hiccupping, coughing and swallowing

Pons

connects the cerebrum to other


parts of the brain, regulates breathing
rate

Midbrain reflex center for head movements


in response to visual stimuli, connects
cerebrum to other parts of the brain

Forebrain responsible for


conscious and unconscious actions
Thalamus

central relay station


- directs incoming sensory
information to the cerebrum

Hypothalamus contains cells that


produce some hormones, controls thirst,
hunger, and controls many of the pituitary
hormones
Also aids in sleep regulation, sexual
arousal, emotions (anger, fear, pain,
pleasure)

Cerebrum

largest part of the


brain (80% of brain mass), left and
right hemispheres.
responsible for intellect, memory,

consciousness and language.

Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex


Frontal

Lobe voluntary motor muscle


movement, higher intellectual processes,
personality/behavior, language

Temporal

Lobe hearing

Parietal

Lobe perceptions of touch,


temperature, pressure, pain, etc from
the skin

Occipital

Lobe vision

Olfactory

Lobe smell

Other parts of the brain


Limbic

System emotions, associated


with hypothalamus

Pituitary

Gland- Master Gland


attaches to hypothalamus

Corpus Callosum
Bundle of nerves that connects the
two halves of the brain
allows for integrated thoughts and
coordinated responses

Left brain verbal, linguistic

dominant
Right brain spatial, artistic, visual

dominant

PET Positron Emission Tomography


Radioactive chemicals are injected into the
bloodstream
data is used to produce 2D or 3D images of

the distribution of the chemicals throughout


the brain and body.

SPECT-Single Photon Emission


Computed Tomography
radioactive tracers and a scanner record
data
computer constructs 2D or 3D images of
the active brain regions.

MRI-Magnetic Resonance Imaging


- magnetic fields and radio waves produce
high-quality 2D or 3D images of brain
structures without injecting radioactive
tracers.

EEG-Electroencephalography
- electrodes placed on the scalp detect and
measure patterns of electrical activity
from the brain.

CT-Computed Tomography Scan


- a series of X-ray beams passed
through the head.
-images are then developed on sensitive
film.
-creates cross-sectional images of the
brain

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)


Cranial

nerves 12 pairs of sensory,


motor and mixed nerves that control the
face, neck and shoulders

Spinal

Nerves 31 pairs of nerves that


emerge from the spinal cord by two
roots (one pair for each segment)

Dorsal

root nerves contain sensory


neurons and ganglia

Ventral

root nerves contain motor

neurons
All

other nerves not part of the CNS

Spinal Cord Injuries

The PNS is subdivided into two


major parts:
1.

The Somatic Nervous System


-contains all the nerves that serve the
muscular-skeletal system and the sensory
organs.
-conscious and deliberate.

2.

The Autonomic Nervous System

-non-voluntary actions
-contains all the nerves that serve the internal
organs.
-unconscious and automatic.
-made of two parts:

A. Sympathetic nervous system

-responsible for the 4 Fs: fight, flight,


fright, or having sex response
-ex) dilation of the pupils, increased
heart rate, increased breathing rate,
slowed digestion, enhanced
performance, increase in blood sugar

B. Parasympathetic nervous system

responsible for the relaxation


response (after fight, flight, fright,
having sex)
- brings the body back to normal
levels
http://itc.gsw.edu/faculty/gfisk/anim/aut

onomicns.swf

Fig 2 p 434