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neuron, specialized cell in animals that, as a unit of the nervous system, carries information by receiving and transmitting electrical impulses.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(or nerve cell), the basic structural and functional unit of the nervous system.

A neuron receives signals that enter from receptors and other neurons and processes and transmits the signals in the form of nerve impulses to the effector nerve endings, which control the activities of the corresponding organs of response (muscles, gland cells, or other neurons). Neurons differentiate from neuroblasts, which arise in the neurula stage of embryonic development.

In the process of differentiation a neuron develops specialized structures to ensure the performance of the various neuronal functions. Branched outgrowths, or dendrites, are specialized to receive information; these structures have a receptive membrane and are sensitive to specific physiological stimuli. The excitatory and inhibitory processes that are localized in the receptive membrane accumulate and act on the stimulus region, the most excitable area of the surface membrane of the neuron; this serves as the origin for the spreading bioelectric potentials. The longest outgrowth, the axon (or axis cylinder), is covered by an electrically excitable conducting membrane that serves to transmit the potentials. Having reached the terminal sections of the axon, the nerve impulse excites the secretory membrane; as a result of this, a physiologically active substance, either a mediator substance (chemical transmitter) or a neurohormone, is secreted from the nerve endings.

In addition to structures associated with the performance of specific functions, a neuron has a nucleus (as do all living cells) that, together with the perinuclear cytoplasm, forms the cell body, or perikaryon. It is here that synthesis of macromolecules takes place. Some of these are transported along the axoplasm (the cytoplasm in the axon) to the nerve endings.

The structure, dimensions, and shape of neurons vary widely. Neurons of the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and some other areas of the central nervous system have complex structures. Multipolar neurons are characteristic of the brain of vertebrates. In such neurons, several dendrites and one axon emerge from the cell-body; the initial section of the axon serves as the excitatory region. Numerous nerve endings from the outgrowths of other neurons converge on the cell body and dendrites of a multipolar neuron. The ganglia of invertebrates usually consist of unipolar neurons; the cell body only fulfills a trophic function and is connected with the axon at the axon hillock. It would appear that such a neuron does not necessarily have true dendrites, and reception of synaptic signals is effected by specialized areas on the surface of the axon. Neurons with two outgrowths are called bipolar; they occur most often as peripheral sensory neurons having one axon and one dendrite, which impinges on the cell surface.

Neurons are classified according to their position in a reflex arc: afferent, or sensory, neurons receive information from the external environment or from receptor cells; interneurons, or internuncial neurons, connect one neuron with another; efferent neurons transmit impulses to the organs of response (for example, motoneurons innervate muscles).

Neurons are also classified according to their chemical specificity, that is, according to the nature of the physiologically active substance that is secreted by the nerve endings of a given neuron. For example, a cholinergic neuron secretes acetylcholine and an adrenergic neuron secretes adrenaline. The number of neurons present in a nervous system determines the variety and complexity of functions that an organism can perform; for example, there are 102 neurons in the Rotatoria and more than 1010 in man.


Eccles, G. Fiziologiia nervnykh kletok. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English.)
Hyden, H. “Neiron.” (Translated from English.) In the collection Funktsional’naia morfologiia kletki. Moscow, 1963.
Mekhanizmy deiatel’nosti tsentral’nogo neirona. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Nervnaia kletka: sb. st. Edited by N. V. Golikov. Leningrad, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A nerve cell, including the cell body, axon, and dendrites.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


A junction, or node, in a neural network. Every neuron has multiple inputs and one or more outputs, and each input is given a "weight" based on its importance. The outputs are computed by performing mathematical functions on the input. A bias weight can be added to some or all neurons to influence the output in the training phase. See neural network.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
In conclusion, Increased cytokine levels, decreased complement activity and increased neuronal loss stand out as indicators of poor prognosis in SIBD.
At autopsy, severe thalamic neuronal loss and gliosis are characteristically seen in postmortem brains of FFI patients, usually without a concomitant spongiform change.
(18) The results of our study revealed that the MSCs reduced apoptosis and caspase-3 activity and they could further result in a decrease in neuronal loss after SCI.
In addition, parahippocampal and temporal cortices, including cortex of the superior temporal gyrus, were very profoundly atrophic with "status spongiosus" --a characteristic finding of FTLD with nearly complete neuronal loss, cortical thinning, a reactive vascular pattern, and reactive astrogliosis.
Conclusions: Our finding suggest that metformin exposure attenuates PTZ-induced neuronal cell death may act as a safe therapeutics and neuroprotective agent for the treatment of neuronal loss as result of seizure.
Summing up, it could be said that the quercetin supplementation in diabetic animals promotes a set of metabolic changes that lead to an increase of weight loss and a slight reduction in blood glucose, whereas the NADHd neurons in the myenteric plexus of the ileum maintains the nucleus and cytoplasm volume and reduces neuronal loss.
To further investigate the role of [beta]-catenin signal in neuronal loss, we utilized TWS119 (a GSK-3[beta] inhibitor which inhibited the degradation of [beta]-catenin) to induce abnormal [beta]-catenin accumulation which mimicked the activation of the canonical Wnt/ [beta]-catenin signaling pathway [18].
Conspicuous neuronal loss was observed following ET-1-induced striatal ischemia (Figures 3(a) and 3(b)), which is in agreement with previous studies [7].
Shin et al., "Berberine prevents nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal loss and suppresses hippocampal apoptosis in mice with Parkinson's disease," International Journal of Molecular Medicine, vol.
Effect of Exposure to BOP on Neuronal Loss. In order to further examine the effect of BOP on neuropathological damage in cortex and hippocampus, immunoreactivity of mature neuronal marker, NeuN, was assessed after BOP exposure.
While in our previous work IOD was measured [12], in this study, we used neuronal counting because it is an established approach to assess the degree of neuronal loss as a measure of healthy neuronal density in the homogeneous CA3 subregion [20] and therefore is a better fit to the objectives of this study.
proposed that such area-specific modifications were intended to counterbalance PA-induced neuronal loss. Quite the contrary, higher presynaptic density of buttons was related to aggravation of cognitive impairment according to age [32].

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