Fundamentals of Neuroscience/Basic Cell Biology
- To review the basic components of the cell.
The brain and the nervous system are primarily comprised of a few highly specialized types of cells. These cells are called neurons and glia. Neurons transmit electrical and chemical signals to one another and this is one way that different parts of the body can communicate. Glia form the majority of the cells in the nervous system, and they basically support the neurons so they can carry out their functions. If you'd like to learn more about the cells in the nervous system right now, you can read the Wikipedia pages about them or the next lesson, but I'm covering some basic information about cells. The next few lessons will describe, among other things, the specific properties of neurons. In order to understand these properties, you probably need to know the basics of how the different parts of a cell contribute to the cell's functioning.
Cells appear at an intermediate level in the structural hierarchy of living organisms. At a lower level in this hierarchy are molecules, including specific types of organic molecules (not covered in this course). Although some organisms are made up of only a single cell, all organisms with neurons are multicellular. (Neurons are unique to animals.) At a higher level in the structural hierarchy of living organisms exist multicellular organisms, viewed as single units rather than in terms of their building blocks. In a multicellular organism, the several to many types of cells cooperate to form tissues and organs.
Related Wikiversity Resources
- The Department of Cell Biology has excellent resources as well:
- The Department of Biochemistry
Also on the Web
- Cell Biology, on Wikibooks
- Molecular Biology of the Cell, Fourth Edition by Alberts, Johnson, Lewis, Raff, Roberts and Walter
- Molecular Cell Biology by Lodish, Berk, Zipursky, Matsudaira, Baltimore and Darnell
- Biochemistry: Fifth Edition by Berg, Tymoczko and Stryer