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Difference Between Neurons and Neuroglia

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What is Neuroglia?

Neuroglia refers to the supportive cells of the system. They supply the structural support to the neurons, and neuroglial cells provide oxygen and nutrients to the neuron cells. Many glial cells, like Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes, are myelinated and are involved in delivering the electrical insulation through the axons. Different types of neuroglia found within the CNS and PNS.


Neuroglia, also called glial cells, are the support cells of the nervous system and make up about 90% of the cells in the brain. They come in many different shapes and sizes and have a variety of functions including holding neurons in place, providing nutrients and oxygen to neurons, removing toxins from the brain, helping to form myelin sheaths around axons, regulating nerve impulses and repairing damage to the brain. There are three types of neuroglia: oligodendrocytes (make myelin), astrocytes (support neurons) and microglia (clean up). Glial cells do not fire electrical impulses like neurons do but they communicate with neurons by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters.


Types and Functions of Neuroglia

  • Astrocytes

The astrocytes are star-shaped neuroglia cells that function with numerous projections. The projections of astrocytes tightly hold the neurons and their synaptic ends. These projections attach the neurons to the blood capillaries, facilitating the transport of nutrients and oxygen. By recycling the neurotransmitters and balancing the amounts of ions, astrocytes regulate the external chemical environment of the neurons.


  • Oligodendrocytes

The oligodendrocytes are the cells that wrap around the axons of the neurons within the CNS. They need fewer projections than oligodendrocytes. The predictions of oligodendrocytes wrap several times around the axon. Since they possess several predictions, each screening wraps around the axons of several neurons. The formation of the case round the axon insulates the axons and reduces the signal transduction through it.


  • Microglial Cells

The microglial cells were touching the neighboring neurons with thorny procedures. They're capable of detecting the injuries of the neurons and perform a phagocytic function by removing the neuron debris.


  • Ependymal Cells

The ependymal cells are found within the ventricles of the CNS. These cells function as a permeable barrier between the underlying cells and, therefore, the humor (CSF). The movement of cilia within the ependymal cells are involved within the circulation of the CSF.


Neuroglia Cell Function Within the Peripheral System

  • Schwann Cells

The Schwann cells are functionally analogous to the oligodendrocytes within the CNS since they insulate the nerve axons. Additionally, Schwann cells are functionally similar to the microglial cells within the CNS, which clear the nerve debris. 


  • Satellite Cells

The satellite cells are functionally analogous to astrocytes within the CNS as both regulate the external environment of the neurons within the PNS. These cells are sensitive to injuries and produce chronic pain.


  • Neuroglia Structure


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What are Neurons?

Neurons are the structural and functional units of the system in vertebrates and invertebrates upward from cnidarians. They're involved within the transition of electrical impulses, coordinating and controlling various functions of the body. Typically, a neuron consists of a cell body with an oversized nucleus. These granules are involved in protein synthesis. Long fibers called axons extend from the cell body, and axons carry nerve impulses removed from it. A bundle of nerve fibers forms a nerve.


Neurons Structure


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The three sorts of neurons within the body are sensory neurons, motor neurons, and interneurons. Both motor and sensory neurons are components of the PNS. The sensory neurons carry nerve impulses from the sensory organs to the CNS. The motor neurons carry nerve impulses from the CNS to the effector organ. The interneurons are found within the medulla spinalis, interconnecting the sensory and motor neurons at the neural structure. 


The Function of Neurons 

The human nervous system has trillions of neurons within the human body. These neurons' cell function is liable for activities that are traditionally thought of because of the activities of the brain. These are transmitted across the gap between neurons by the discharge and uptake of chemicals called neurotransmitters.


Difference Between Neurons and Neuroglia

  • Definition

Neurons: Neurons are the cells of the nervous system, which receive and transmit nerve impulses.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia is the supporting nervous system cells, which provides mechanical and structural support to neurons. It supplies nutrients and oxygen to neurons, and supplies electrical insulation through axons of the neuron.


  • Significance

Neurons: Neurons are the efficient unit of the nervous system.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia is the subsidiary cell of the neurons.


  • Granules

Neurons: Neurons have Nissl granules.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia doesn't have granules.


  • Axons

Neurons: The nerve impulses conducted by neurons with long, slender projections called axons.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia doesn't have axons. However, some neuroglia comprises small, slender projections.


  • Synapses

Neurons: Neurons form synapses between two neurons and between neurons and also the sensory or effector organs.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia doesn't form synapses.


  • Size

Neurons: Neurons are often 4 μm to 1 mm.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia are smaller than neurons.


  • Quantity

Neurons: Around 100 billion neurons are present within the frame.

Neuroglia: the quantity of neuroglia in higher vertebrates is 5 to 10 times the amount of neurons.


  • In a Mature System

Neurons: Most neurons are incapable of multiplying and differentiating in an exceedingly mature systema nervosum.

Neuroglia: Neuroglia, in a very mature system, is capable of multiplying by themselves.


  • With Age

Neurons: The number of neurons remains identical with age.

Neuroglia: The quantity of neuroglia is reduced with age.


  • Types

Neurons: The three forms of neurons are sensory neurons, motor neurons, and interneurons.

Neuroglia: The neuroglia within the CNS are astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglial cells, and ependymal cells. The neuroglia within the PNS are Schwann cells and satellite cells.


Neurons are the cells in your brain that allow you to think, feel and move. They can transmit information from one neuron to another or between a nerve cell and a muscle cell. You have about 100 billion neurons! Each neuron has three parts: the soma (cell body), an axon (nerve fibre) and dendrites (branches). Dendrites receive messages sent by other neurons via neurotransmitters . In order for two neurons to communicate with each other they must be close together near the synapse of both neurons. Neurons send signals as electrical impulses down their long thin axons at speeds of up to 120 feet per second toward the next neuron’s receptor site where it triggers chemica reactions that generate new electrical impulses.


Some best Ways to Study Neurons and Neuroglia

A) Look at the cells under a microscope: Seeing them in action is helpful for learning about their functions and what they do within the brain.

B) Use an interactive model: These models use three-dimensional printed images which allow you to rotate each cell so that you can see every side of it clearly, making it easier to understand how these support cells function.

C) Make your own model: This will help reinforce everything you’ve learned and give you more practice visualising neuron structure and neuroglial function! You could even get creative with this by using Legos or other building materials like pipe cleaners.

D) Make flashcards: This method will help you memorise the different parts of a neuron and is great for studying when on-the-go.

E) Study from an online resource: There are thousands of resources available at your fingertips with just a few clicks!

F) Watch educational videos about neurons and neuroglia: Watching them in action while also learning more about how they work can be very helpful, especially if you're a visual learner or prefer watching lectures to reading textbooks.

G) Learn by doing hands-on activities: These types of activities allow students to visualise information better because it engages both sides of their brain (left side controls logical thinking while right side processes visuals). Brain breaks that incorporate games like Simon Says or Red Light Green Light are also great for this.


Importance of studying Neurons and neuroglia:

Knowing about the different parts of a neuron and how neuroglia support them is important for understanding how the brain works. When something goes wrong with either of these, it can lead to diseases or disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and more. The more we learn about these cells and their functions, the closer we are to finding cures for these devastating diseases.


Differences between Neurons and Neuroglia:

Neurons are the cells of your nervous system that send messages across synapses. They have dendrites, axons and a cell body called an. These signals travel down the neuron’s to create new electrical impulses. There are different neurotransmitters that neurons use for communication which helps determine how they respond in certain situations. Neuroglia support neurons by providing nutrients, removing toxins from the brain and holding them in place with myelin sheaths around their long thin tissue. Learning more about how they work can be very helpful, especially if you're a visual learner or prefer watching lectures to reading textbooks.

Last updated date: 28th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Difference Between Neurons and Neuroglia

1. What is the difference between neurons and neuroglia?

Neurons are cells in your nervous system that send messages across synapses, while neuroglia support neurons by providing nutrients, removing toxins from the brain and holding them in place with myelin sheaths around their long thin axons.

2. What are some diseases or disorders caused by problems with neurons or neuroglia?

Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and more can be caused by problems with either neurons or neuroglia. When something goes wrong with either of these, it can lead to devastating diseases.

3. What's the best way to study neurons and neuroglia?

There are many ways to study these. Some of the best methods are using an interactive model, making your own model, studying from online resources and watching educational videos about neurons and neuroglia.

4. How can I learn more about neuroscience?

You can do this by reading books or articles that discuss it in-depth, taking an introductory course on neuroscience at a university level if possible or joining a club where you get hands-on experience with different parts of the brain like Model Neuroscience Club.

5. How can I stay up to date with neuroscience news?

There are many places you can go online where experts in the field discuss what is new and exciting. Some examples include Neuroscience News, Neuroscience Online or Facebook groups like Brain Awareness Week.

6. What are some benefits to studying neuroscience?

There are many, including learning how the brain works and what makes it tick so you can understand its functions. This knowledge helps scientists find cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and more. It also allows them to create treatments that help people suffering from these debilitating conditions lead better lives. Overall, understanding the human mind is fascinating.

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