The Structure of the Nervous System
The building blocks of the nervous system are the nerve cells, also called neurons. It is estimated that the human brain possesses 25 billion cells. Like all animal cells, each neuron is bounded by a cell membrane that encloses the contents of the cell—that is, the cytoplasm (cell fluid) and the nucleus. The size and shape of these neurons vary widely, but the structural plan always includes certain elements (Fig. 1–1): a cell body, or soma, and the processes from this cell body, namely an axon (neurite), and usually several dendrites. The neuron diagrammed in Fig. 1–1 has one axon and four dendrites.
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