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Differences Between Myelinated and Unmyelinated Neurons

Myelinated vs Unmyelinated Neurons

Our body is composed of thousands upon thousands of cells, different internal parts of the body, many different types of bones and cartilages, and many more medical and biological terms that the regular layman may not be aware of, and may not even know about. In fact, there are certain things that may seem trivial to some simply because they are not dealt with on a day to day basis. A couple of terms that might be of interest will be talked about in this article, and we will be talking about an important part of our central nervous system … the neurons.

It might probably be good to start this article on what the central nervous system (CNS) is all about. For starters, your CNS comprises your brain, nerves, the spinal cord and many more. Basically, the CNS is responsible for sending, receiving, processing and understanding all of the information that is received from all of the parts of the body and making sure that the rest of your body parts would receive the message coming from the brain.

A neuron is the ‘basic building block’ of the central nervous system. As your nervous system is in charge of receiving sensory information from everywhere, it would also get information from the brain or the peripheral nervous system and ensure that the necessary information or command would be transmitted to the right part of the body. Let’s try to make it simpler to understand. Say for example, you touch something hot. What happens is that your neurons transmit heat from your fingers to your brain, and the brain tells you to automatically retrieve your hand. The exchange of information from your brain to your finger is more than lightning speed, and these are all the neurons at work, as it tells you that the item is hot, therefore, you have to retrieve your hand from this hot object.

A neuron is also called a nerve cell. It processes and transmits information using electrical and chemical signals. A synapse is a special connection to other cells and this is where chemical signals happen. There are 3 types of neurons that connect to would respond to different types of organs. A neuron has a cell body, a dendrite, and an axon. This is where the terms we will be discussing would come in:

Myelinated Neuron
Unmyelinated Neuron

When we talk about myelinated neuron, this simply means that the axon is covered by myelin sheath. If the axon is covered with myelin sheath, the nerve impulse is faster.

If we talk about unmyelinated neuron, this means the axon is not covered by this myelin sheath. This then means that the conduction of nerve impulse is slower.

To further understand myelin sheath, myelin is considered an electrical insulator. Its purpose is to speed the transmission of nerve impulse. Myelin sheath is lipoproteinaceous substance that envelopes the vertebrates axons whose size is bigger than .5mcm in diameter.

This is why it is important that myelination occurs within. Myelination is the production of myelin sheath. It is already present during the fourteenth week of development of the baby in the mother’s womb. One of the more important purposes of myelin sheath in the central nervous system is to ensure that communication between distant body parts is continued and agile communication is kept alive. Should the peripheral fiber be cut off, the myelin sheath will work as track, so regrowth would happen. Then again, this does not mean myelin sheath will make the growth perfect. Some neurons might be damaged, some do not find the right muscle fibers, and many other possible scenarios could occur.

A neuron that has myelin sheath cover would mean:
faster transmission
faster conduction
faster transfer of impulses

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  1. Show me more

  2. So interesting and and wel explanation for easy understanding !!!!!

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