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Central Nervous System and Neurotrophic Factors

Nervous System
All our vital activities take place in the central nervous system (CNS). It is constituted of the brain, cerebellum, bone marrow, and brain stem. From it, a whole network of bundles, the peripheral nervous system (PNS), innervates the various parts of the body.

The neuron (or nerve cell) is the basic unit of these systems. It is responsible for receiving and transmitting sensitive and motor data to the whole body. It contains, within its center, a cellular body that reaches on either sides with short and ramified processes called dendrites, as well as one main process called axon. The dendrites receive data incoming from other neurons. The axon's role is to direct the nervous impulse toward a synapse, contact zone between two neurons or between a neuron and a cell of a different type, such as a motor endplate of a muscle. The axons gather into bundles to form nerves.

The axon's structure is different depending on it's localization: the CNS or PNS. In the CNS, it is surrounded by a myelin sheath formed by oligodendrocytes, while in the PNS the myelin sheath is produced by Schwann cells. A neuron also produces neurotransmitters, such as acettylcholine and catecholamines, which define if it is a cholinergic or adrenergic neuron.

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