Neurons are structural and functional units of the nervous system, which consist of a body, a short extension (dendrites, which are usually dichotomically branched), and a long extension (axons, which are rarely branched). In addition, axons, in contrast to dendrites, may be surrounded by myelin cells.

The most important property of neurons is their ability to receive stimuli and generate action potential in response to these stimuli. The stimuli are usually conveyed through neurotransmitters, which trigger depolarization or hyperpolarization of the neuron membrane. Neurons are interconnected and connected to other types of cells via dendrites and axons through which electrical stimuli are transmitted. Dendrites usually convey impulses to the neuron’s cell body, whereas axons predominantly conduct impulses away from the cell body. The areas of contact between neurons and other types of cells are called synapses. The neuron modeling and depiction were performed taking into consideration electron microscopy data in an attempt to preserve the maximum similarity between the model and the actual appearance of the neuron.

Date: Aug 26, 2008