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Difference Between Nerve and Neuron

neuronNerve vs. Neuron

Although nerve and neuron may sound similar to most people, they are, in fact, two different components of the body. However, they are closely related, as nerves are actually projections of neurons.

There are three main types of nerves: Afferent nerves, efferent nerves and mixed nerves. Afferent nerves transmit signals from sensory neurons to the central nervous system; efferent nerves transmit signals from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands, and mixed nerves are responsible for receiving sensory information, and for sending information to the muscles. Nerves are also classified as spinal nerves and cranial nerves. The spinal nerves connect the spinal column to the spinal cord, and transmit signals to most of the body, while cranial nerves are found in the brainstem, and they are responsible for the signals to the brain.

The nerve is composed of different types of axons, and it is through these axons that the electrochemical nerve impulses (mentioned above) are transmitted. Nerves are found in the peripheral nervous system. Each nerve is covered by three layers, starting with the inner endoneurium, which covers the nerve fibres; the middle layer called the perineurium, and the outer layer over the perineurium, called the epineurium. There are even blood vessels found within a nerve.

On the other hand, neurons are found in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. Neurons are also named as neurone, or as nerve cells. There are two types of neurons ‘“ the sensory neurons and the motor neurons. Sensory neurons send signals to the brain and the spinal cord, while the motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, information is transmitted through neurons by electrochemical signaling.

Neurons consist of various parts including the soma, nucleus, extensions called the dendrite tree, and the many axons. The soma is the central part of the neuron, and the nucleus is found within the soma. Dendrites form extensions from the neuron, and axons are the extensions from the soma. Axons are fine structures, and they vary in number from hundreds to thousands. The axon terminals have synapses, and the axon hillock is where the axon emerges from the soma.

Various diseases can occur when there is damage sustained to the nerves or the neurons. Nerve damage may lead to diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome, immunological diseases like Guillain-Barre syndrome, and neuritis, which is when the nerves become infected. Diabetes could also cause nerve damage, and neuropathy refers to the damage of the blood vessels covering the nerves. Symptoms of the above-mentioned diseases include paralysis, pain, numbness and weakness of the nerves. In some cases, there is even referred pain in a different part of the body due to the damage of certain nerves.

Alzheimer’s disease, Charcott Marie Tooth disease, Myasthenia Gravis and Parkinson’s disease are all caused by damage to the neurons. Symptoms of these diseases include short-term memory loss, loss of sensory perception, agnosia, apraxia, aphasia, akinesia, tremors, muscle rigidity, bradykinesia, and many others.

Summary:

1.A neuron is an individual cell, whereas, a group of neurons form a nerve.
2.There are two types of neurons ‘“ sensory and motor neurons; while there are three types of nerves ‘“ afferent, efferent and mixed nerves.
3.Nerves are found in the peripheral nervous system, while neurons are found in the brain, spinal cord and the peripheral nerves.
4.A neuron can also be called a neurone or a nerve cell.
5.Neurons conduct nerve impulses, while nerves transmit information to various parts of the body.


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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for making this clear. I was unsure what the differences were between the two because i have heard them used interchangeably. The summarization was what I was really looking for and helped me a bundle. Thanks.

  2. what about relay neuron?

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