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In this video, I want to provide an overview of neuron function,
which I think of sort of like how a gun functions.
And we'll go into a lot more detail
on how a neuron functions in later videos.
But in this video.
I just want to give a bird's eye overview of it.
The function of neurons is to process and transmit
Without input, most neurons have a stable electrical charge
difference across their cell membrane,
where it's more negative inside the cell membrane
and more positive outside the cell membrane.
And we call this the resting membrane potential or just
resting potential for short.
And this resting potential is really
how the neuron is going to be able to be
excitable and respond to input.
And I think of this as similar to loading
a gun by putting a bullet in it.
Neurons receive excitatory or inhibitory input
from other cells or from physical stimuli
like odorant molecules in the nose.
Input information usually comes in through the dendrites.
Although less often, it'll come in through the soma
or the axon.
The information from the inputs is transmitted
through dendrites or the soma to the axon
with membrane potential changes called graded potentials.
These graded potentials are changes
to the membrane potential away from the resting potential,
which are small in size and brief in duration,
and which travel fairly short distances.
The size and the duration of a graded potential
is proportional to the size and the duration of the input.
Summation, or an adding together of all the excitatory
and inhibitory graded potentials at any moment in time
occurs at the trigger zone, the axon initial segment
right here.
This summation of graded potentials
is the way neurons process information from their inputs.
If the membrane potential at the trigger zone
crosses a value called the threshold potential,
information will then be fired down the axon.
So I like to think of this process of summation
of the excitatory and inhibitory graded potentials
at the trigger zone as analogous to the trigger of a gun.
In fact, that's why it's called the trigger zone.
I think of the graded potentials as being
like the finger on the gun, that may be squeezing
a little harder or relaxing.
But once the trigger of the gun is pulled back
past a certain threshold distance,
a bullet will be fired down the barrel of the gun,
just like if the membrane potential of the trigger zone
crosses a threshold value, information
will be fired down the axon.
The way information is fired down
the axon is with a different kind of change
to the membrane potential called an action potential.
An action potential is usually large in size and brief
in duration.
But it's usually conducted the entire length of the axon,
no matter how long it is, so that it can travel
a very long distance, just like a bullet usually
has no trouble making it down the barrel of the gun.
And like a bullet traveling through the barrel of a gun,
action potentials tend to travel very quickly down
the length of the axon.
Action potentials are different than graded potentials
because they're usually the same size and duration
for any particular neuron, as opposed
to the graded potentials, whose size and duration
depends on the size and the duration of the inputs.
Action potentials are conducted faster along
larger axons, axons with a larger diameter,
and along axons that have a myelin sheath, that I've
drawn in yellow here.
When an action potential reaches the axon terminals
at the end of the axon, information
will then cross, usually a small gap,
to the target cell of the neuron.
And the way this happens for most synapses
where an axon terminal makes contact with the target cell
is by release of molecules called neurotransmitters
that bind to receptors on the target cell
and which may change its behavior.
Neurotransmitter is then removed from the synapse.
So it's reset to transmit more information.
And I think of this part as similar to the bullet leaving
the gun, to hit the target.
The input information that was converted
into the size and the duration of graded potentials
is then converted into the temporal pattern of firing
of action potentials down the axon.
And this information is then converted
to the amount and the temporal pattern of neurotransmitter
release at the synapse.
These steps are how neurons transmit information,
often over long distances.
This is the general way that neurons usually function.
But there are multiple functional types of neurons.
So let's take a look at some of those.
Here I've drawn a few different neurons,
with their somas in red, their axons in green,
and their dendrites in blue.
And I've drawn a line here to separate
between the central nervous system on this side--
so I'll just write CNS for short--
and the peripheral nervous system on this side--
so I'll just write PNS for short.
And there's some different ways we
can categorize functional types of neurons.
The first way is the direction of information flow
between the CNS and the PNS.
If a neuron like this pseudounipolar neuron
right here brings information from the periphery
in toward the central nervous system,
we call that an afferent neuron.
Afferent, meaning it's bringing information
into the central nervous system.
We can also call this type of neuron
a sensory neuron because the information
it's bringing into the central nervous system
involves information about a stimulus.
And a stimulus is anything that can
be sensed in the internal or external environment, which
is to say anything inside the body
or anything outside the body.
These neurons are carrying information away
from the central nervous system out into the periphery.
So instead of calling them afferent neurons,
we call them efferent neurons.
And there are two main kinds of efferent neurons.
The first we call motor neurons.
Motor, which means movement.
These are efferent neurons that control skeletal muscle,
the main type of muscle that's attached
to our skeleton, that moves us around.
These motor neurons are also called somatomotor neurons
or neurons of the somatic nervous system.
The other type of the efferent neurons
are called autonomic neurons.
And these neurons control smooth muscle,
like the muscle around our blood vessels;
cardiac muscle, the muscle of our heart; and gland cells,
the cells of our glands that secrete hormones
into the bloodstream.
These autonomic neurons are also called visceromotor neurons
or neurons of the autonomic nervous system.
Most neurons of the central nervous system
aren't any of these types of neurons, however.
They're like this neuron, in that they
connect other neurons together.
So these are called interneurons,
neurons between neurons.
And there are many interneurons in the central nervous system,
forming very complex pathways for information to travel.
So that while an individual neuron
is processing and transmitting information,
these complex networks of neurons
in the central nervous system are
doing even more complex processing
and transmitting of information.


神經元細胞功能的概觀 (Overview of neuron function)

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Alvin He 發佈於 2016 年 5 月 31 日    Alvin He 翻譯    吳宜臻 審核
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