How is a neuron adapted to perform its function?

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Feb 13, 2018


The nerves cells are rather long which enables communication with distant body parts. The dendrites allow for communication with other neurons. Myelin surrounding the axon of a neuron acts as an insulator.


The above example is a very general description. In fact, neurons can be categorized into three groups based on their function:

Sensory neurons:

  • Carry impulses from the receptors (cells that detect the stimuli i.e. heat or pressure) to the central nervous system (CSN).

  • They have longer dendrites and shorter axons due to carrying of impulses from sensory organs to the spinal cord or brain.

  • In general, sensory neurons are very long cells as they have to carry the impulses from the body to the place where the response occurs.

Motor Neurons

  • Carry impulses from the CSN to the effector (cells responding to the stimuli i.e organs, muscles)

  • They have long axons and shorter dendrites due to the passage of impulses from spinal cord or brain to the effector organs/cells.

Relay neurons

  • Co-ordinate responses

  • They are known as link neurons in the CNS due to their function which is to link sensory neurons with the motor neurons

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