Nervous System Study Guide


Ch 11 up to synapse- The Nervous System

I.                  Functions of the Nervous system

II.             Organizational levels and functions of each(chart page 389)

a.      CNS- Brain and Spinal Cord

                                                                          i.      Brain: voluntary movement, interpretation, sensory integration, consciousness, cognition

                                                                       ii.      Spinal cord: conduction of afferent and efferent nerves, reflex center

b.     PNS- 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 32 pairs of spinal nerves, ganglia provides communication lines between CNS and body’s muscles, glands and sensory receptors (photoreceptors, mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, chemoreceptors, and nocicetpors)

                                                                          i.      Sensory

                                                                       ii.      Motor

1.       Somatic

2.     Autonomic

a.      Sympathetic and parasympathetic

III.         Histology

a.      Neuroglia and glia cells- 6 types- know functions and PNS vs CNS

                                                                          i.      Astrocytes, microglia, ependymal, oligodendrocites, Schwann cells, and satellite cells

b.     Neurons

                                                                          i.      Cell body, dendrite and axon- function and structure of each

                                                                       ii.      Cell body- ganglia and nuclei

1.       neurofibrils

                                                                     iii.      Dendrits and axons- tracts and nerves

                                                                      iv.      Axon

1.       axon collaterals

2.     axon hillock

3.     terminal branches (telodendria) and synaptic knobs

                                                                        v.      general characteristics- extreme longevity, amitotic, high metabolic rate, irritability, conductivity

c.      myelination

                                                                          i.      nodes of Ranvier

                            ii. neurilema

                                                                       iii.      gray matter vs white matter

d.       Classification of neurons- structural and functions

IV.             Neurophysiology

a.      Voltage and potential energy

b.     Current and resistance

c.      Role of Ion Channels

                                                                          i.      Leaky, voltage gated, chemical gated, mechanical gated

d.      Resting potential characteristics (voltage and permeability to Na+, K+ and Cl-)

e.      Depolarization

                                                                          i.      Na+ rushes in to dendrite or cell bodyŕ local depolarization, if threshold stimulus is applied, starts a positive feedback loop (change of charge causes voltage gated Na+ channels nearby to open)

f.      Repolarization

                                                                          i.      Happening to section of neuron behind the depolarization, slower K+ gates remain open as Na+ close, ends the positive feedback loop, brings back towards resting potential

1.       Absolute refractory period

g.      Hyperpolarization

                                                                          i.      K+ gates remain open, cell overshoots the resting potential

1.       Refractory period

                                                                       ii.      ATP pumps must be used to return to original resting potential

h.      Graded potentials

        i. receptor and postsynaptic potentials

i.        Action potentials

                                                                          i.      Subthreshold vs Threshold

                                                                       ii.      Axon hillock

                                                                     iii.      All or none

                                                                      iv.      propagation

j.       absolute refractory period vs refractory period

k.      stimulus intensity

l.        conduction velocity

                                                                          i.      continuous vs salutatory conduction

                                                                       ii.      diameter of axon

m.     MS

V.                 Synapse- know what it is and how it is crossed (basics, covered during muscle phys)

a.      Pre and post synaptic neurons

b.     Synaptic knob

                                                                          i.      Electricity causes Ca2+ gates to open, Ca2+ enters causing vacuoles containing neurotransmitters to exocytose

c.      Neurotransmitters

                                                                          i.      Excitatory or inhibitory


Helpful websites:

Resting membrane potential

Action potential

More action potential

Sodium Potassium Pump

Animated Neurotransmission

Synapse (synaptic cleft)



Guided notes for Ch 12

Mrs. T's Central Nervous System Structures Power Point- Pictures for use on Quizzes and Tests!

Helpful websites:

Human Brain Anatomy & Functions

Online Brain dissection 


Guided notes for Ch 13

Helpful websites:

Cranial Nerves Tutorial 

Cranial nerve testing