Q:

What are the three types of neurons and their functions?

A:

Quick Answer

Though there are over 10,000 specific types of neurons, the three general classifications are sensory neurons, motor neurons and interneurons. Sensory neurons send signals from outside the body into the central nervous system, motor neurons transmit signals to activate muscles and glands, and interneurons act as connectors between neurons.

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Full Answer

The sensory neurons inform the central nervous system of outside stimuli through the senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. By causing muscles to contract and relax, motor neurons enable such involuntary muscle functions as the beating of the heart and the passage of food through the intestines, as well as voluntary skeletal muscle function. Interneurons form the connections that enable communication between the sensory neurons and the motor neurons and also perform many other complex signaling functions within the nervous system.

The brain is not always involved in signal transmission between neurons. In a monosynaptic reflex pathway, such as a knee-jerk reflex, sensory neurons pass messages directly to motor neurons, which stimulate the leg muscles to react automatically. As tasks increase in complexity, the pathways become more convoluted, and the brain comes into play. To process all this information, scientists estimate that the human brain contains roughly 200 billion neurons.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the definition of neural communication?

    A:

    Neural communication is any type of signaling between neurons throughout the nervous system. Neurons are small cells that reside throughout the human body. They communicate through action potentials, which are electrical impulses that are short-lasting and send signals from one neuron to another. Neural communication is vital for the central and peripheral nervous systems to be at optimal health.

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  • Q:

    What is a multipolar neuron?

    A:

    Multipolar neurons are neurons that have one axon and many dendrites. These dendrites or multi-processes give the neuron many connection points to other neurons. Multipolar neurons function as either motor or association neurons, which includes moving muscles and conducting impulses.

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    What is the function of association neurons?

    A:

    The Free Dictionary explains that an association neuron is a neuron found in the brain and spinal cord that conducts impulses between neurons. These neurons are commonly referred to as internuncial neurons or interneurons. According to Wikipedia, an interneuron is a neuron that forms connection between other neurons.

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  • Q:

    What are the three parts of a synapse?

    A:

    The three parts of a synapse are the presynaptic ending, the synaptic cleft and the postsynaptic ending. An impulse traveling from one nerve cell to another must pass through all three parts to successfully cross the synapse and to travel to the next neuron in the sequence.

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