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7.3.7: Key Terms

  • Page ID
    97225
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    acetylcholine
    neurotransmitter released by neurons in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
    action potential
    self-propagating momentary change in the electrical potential of a neuron (or muscle) membrane
    Alzheimer’s disease
    neurodegenerative disorder characterized by problems with memory and thinking
    amygdala
    structure within the limbic system that processes fear
    arachnoid mater
    spiderweb-like middle layer of the meninges that cover the central nervous system
    astrocyte
    glial cell in the central nervous system that provide nutrients, extracellular buffering, and structural support for neurons; also makes up the blood-brain barrier
    attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty maintaining attention and controlling impulses
    autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
    neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication abilities
    autonomic nervous system
    part of the peripheral nervous system that controls bodily functions
    axon
    tube-like structure that propagates a signal from a neuron’s cell body to axon terminals
    axon hillock
    electrically sensitive structure on the cell body of a neuron that integrates signals from multiple neuronal connections
    axon terminal
    structure on the end of an axon that can form a synapse with another neuron
    basal ganglia
    interconnected collections of cells in the brain that are involved in movement and motivation; also known as basal nuclei
    basal nuclei
    see basal ganglia
    brainstem
    portion of the brain that connects with the spinal cord; controls basic nervous system functions like breathing, heart rate, and swallowing
    cerebellum
    brain structure involved in posture, motor coordination, and learning new motor actions
    cerebral cortex
    outermost sheet of brain tissue; involved in many higher-order functions
    cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
    clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and fills the ventricles and central canal; acts as a shock absorber and circulates material throughout the brain and spinal cord
    choroid plexus
    spongy tissue within ventricles that produces cerebrospinal fluid
    cingulate gyrus
    helps regulate emotions and pain; thought to directly drive the body’s conscious response to unpleasant experiences
    corpus callosum
    thick fiber bundle that connects the cerebral hemispheres
    cranial nerve
    sensory and/or motor nerve that emanates from the brain
    dendrite
    structure that extends away from the cell body to receive messages from other neurons
    depolarization
    change in the membrane potential to a less negative value
    dura mater
    tough outermost layer that covers the central nervous system
    ependymal
    cell that lines fluid-filled ventricles of the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord; involved in production of cerebrospinal fluid
    epilepsy
    neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures
    excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP)
    depolarization of a postsynaptic membrane caused by neurotransmitter molecules released from a presynaptic cell
    frontal lobe
    part of the cerebral cortex that contains the motor cortex and areas involved in planning, attention, and language
    glia
    (also, glial cells) cells that provide support functions for neurons
    gyrus
    (plural: gyri) ridged protrusions in the cortex
    hippocampus
    brain structure in the temporal lobe involved in processing memories
    hyperpolarization
    change in the membrane potential to a more negative value
    hypothalamus
    brain structure that controls hormone release and body homeostasis
    inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP)
    hyperpolarization of a postsynaptic membrane caused by neurotransmitter molecules released from a presynaptic cell
    limbic system
    connected brain areas that process emotion and motivation
    long-term depression (LTD)
    prolonged decrease in synaptic coupling between a pre- and postsynaptic cell
    long-term potentiation (LTP)
    prolonged increase in synaptic coupling between a pre-and postsynaptic cell
    major depression
    mental illness characterized by prolonged periods of sadness
    membrane potential
    difference in electrical potential between the inside and outside of a cell
    meninge
    membrane that covers and protects the central nervous system
    microglia
    glia that scavenge and degrade dead cells and protect the brain from invading microorganisms
    myelin
    fatty substance produced by glia that insulates axons
    neurodegenerative disorder
    nervous system disorder characterized by the progressive loss of neurological functioning, usually caused by neuron death
    neuron
    specialized cell that can receive and transmit electrical and chemical signals
    nodes of Ranvier
    gaps in the myelin sheath where the signal is recharged
    norepinephrine
    neurotransmitter and hormone released by activation of the sympathetic nervous system
    occipital lobe
    part of the cerebral cortex that contains visual cortex and processes visual stimuli
    oligodendrocyte
    glial cell that myelinates central nervous system neuron axons
    parasympathetic nervous system
    division of autonomic nervous system that regulates visceral functions during rest and digestion
    parietal lobe
    part of the cerebral cortex involved in processing touch and the sense of the body in space
    Parkinson’s disease
    neurodegenerative disorder that affects the control of movement
    pia mater
    thin membrane layer directly covering the brain and spinal cord
    proprioception
    sense about how parts of the body are oriented in space
    radial glia
    glia that serve as scaffolds for developing neurons as they migrate to their final destinations
    refractory period
    period after an action potential when it is more difficult or impossible for an action potential to be fired; caused by inactivation of sodium channels and activation of additional potassium channels of the membrane
    saltatory conduction
    “jumping” of an action potential along an axon from one node of Ranvier to the next
    satellite glia
    glial cell that provides nutrients and structural support for neurons in the peripheral nervous system
    schizophrenia
    mental disorder characterized by the inability to accurately perceive reality; patients often have difficulty thinking clearly and can suffer from delusions
    Schwann cell
    glial cell that creates myelin sheath around a peripheral nervous system neuron axon
    sensory-somatic nervous system
    system of sensory and motor nerves
    somatosensation
    sense of touch
    spinal cord
    thick fiber bundle that connects the brain with peripheral nerves; transmits sensory and motor information; contains neurons that control motor reflexes
    spinal nerve
    nerve projecting between skin or muscle and spinal cord
    sulcus
    (plural: sulci) indents or “valleys” in the cortex
    summation
    process of multiple presynaptic inputs creating EPSPs around the same time for the postsynaptic neuron to be sufficiently depolarized to fire an action potential
    sympathetic nervous system
    division of autonomic nervous system activated during stressful “fight or flight” situations
    synapse
    junction between two neurons where neuronal signals are communicated
    synaptic cleft
    space between the presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes
    synaptic vesicle
    spherical structure that contains a neurotransmitter
    temporal lobe
    part of the cerebral cortex that processes auditory input; parts of the temporal lobe are involved in speech, memory, and emotion processing
    thalamus
    brain area that relays sensory information to the cortex
    threshold of excitation
    level of depolarization needed for an action potential to fire
    ventricle
    cavity within brain that contains cerebrospinal fluid

    7.3.7: Key Terms is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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