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The Nervous System

Oral Biology

Alex Forrest
Associate Professor of Forensic Odontology Forensic Science Research & Innovation Centre, Griffith University Consultant Forensic Odontologist, Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services, 39 Kessels Rd, Coopers Plains, Queensland, Australia 4108

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Learning Objectives

1. You should be able to construct a concept map of the nervous system. 2. You should understand and be able to explain the basic structural organization of the human nervous system. 3. You should be able to explain the major structural and functional characteristics of the somatic components of the nervous system.

Intercellular Communication

The body depends not only on proper structure of its billions of cells to function, but also on communication between those cells. Sometimes this is automatic, and sometimes it is under conscious control.

Intersystem Communication

There are two major communication systems in the body. These are the nervous system and the endocrine system. While both systems are designed to transmit information from one area of the body to others, they do it in quite different ways.

Intersystem Communication

The nervous system is specialized to transmit selected information very rapidly from one part of the body to another. This information is often quite specific, and it can be very accurately targeted.

Intersystem Communication

The endocrine system, by contrast, works far more slowly. It operates by secreting hormones from ductless glands into the blood-vascular system, and these are then circulated to other organs and parts of the body.

Intersystem Communication

These two systems operate to control and integrate the body's functions, enabling the body to look after itself and take care of its needs.

Nervous System

Today we examine aspects of the anatomy of the human nervous system. We will begin by discussing the basic layout of the nervous system and its various divisions. Then, we shall discuss the voluntary or somatic nervous structures, and examine the mechanisms by which they communicate with the brain through the spinal cord.

Nervous System

The organs of the nervous system include the brain and the spinal cord as well as the various nerves of the body. Also included are the specialised sense organs such as the ears and eyes, and the tiny sense organs found in the skin and in other organs of the body.

We can divide the nervous system into two major parts:


Central Nervous System Peripheral Nervous System

Copyright Alex Forrest 2013

The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord. It is called the CNS because it occupies a central midline position in the body.

Copyright Alex Forrest 2013

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) comprises the afferent (sensory) fibres, which connect the sensory end organs to the central nervous system, and the efferent (motor) fibres, which connect the central nervous system to the effector organs.
Copyright Alex Forrest 2013

It can be divided into a somatic or voluntary component, and a visceral, or autonomic or involuntary part. The visceral system is further subdivided into a sympathetic and a parasympathetic part.

Copyright Alex Forrest 2013

Nervous System

The peripheral nervous system includes the 31 pairs of spinal nerves and the 12 cranial nerves. The sympathetic trunks with their ganglia and branches also belong to this system.

Nervous System

Individual spinal nerves can contain fibres of both somatic and visceral nerves, and there is a very clear pattern of distribution of such fibres throughout the peripheral nervous system, as we shall see. They contain both afferent (incoming sensory) and efferent (outgoing motor) fibres.

Nervous System

Sensory fibres connect with general sensory endings, which are scattered profusely throughout the body. These are biological transducers in which physical stimuli create action potentials in nerve endings. On reaching the central nervous system, the resulting nerve impulse gives rise to reflex response, awareness of the stimulus, or both.

Sensory Nerve Endings

General sensory nerve endings may be divided into:


Exteroceptors Proprioceptors Interoceptors

Sensory Nerve Endings

Cutaneous endings are called exteroceptors and are sensitive to stimuli for pain, temperature, touch and pressure. Proprioceptors in muscles, tendons and joints provide data for reflex adjustments of muscle action, and for awareness of position and movement. Interoceptors arise within the viscera. Central conduction is through sensory visceral neurons, and will be discussed in the next session.

Ganglia

Nerve ganglia (singular = ganglion) are aggregations of nerve cell bodies found on some peripheral nerves. They contain nerve cell bodies and their nerve fibres (axons), as well as fibres derived from cells elsewhere which pass right through or terminate within the ganglion.

Ganglia

They are present in the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves and the sensory roots of V, VII, VIII, IX, X. They also occur in association with visceral (or autonomic) nerves.

Cells of the Nervous System

The two types of cell found in the nervous system are called neurons (or nerve cells), and glia (specialised connective tissue supporting cells).

Neurons

Each neuron comprises three parts:

A cell body One or more branching projections called dendrites An axon

http://www2.cbm.uam.es/fjdiez/neuro/neurons.jpg

Neurons

Sensory neurons (afferent neurons) transmit information to the brain and spinal cord from the various parts of the body. Motor neurons (efferent neurons) transmit information away from the brain and out to various glands and muscles. Interneurons connect sensory and motor neurons and transmit information between the two.

Neurons

http://ccins.camosun.bc.ca/~tonks/courses/psyc110/neuron.jpg

Some neurons are myelinated. This means the axon is surrounded by a whitish material called myelin.

Neurons

Myelin is secreted by a special cell called a Schwann cell, which wraps around the axons of some cells in the PNS.

http://www.bmb.psu.edu/courses/bisci004a/nerve/myelform.jpg

Neurons

Nodes occur in between myelinated segments of axon, and these are termed the Nodes of Ranvier. The presence of myelin tends to speed up conduction in an axon.

http://www.bmb.psu.edu/courses/bisci004a/nerve/ner veb4.htm

Glia

http://www.bmb.psu.edu/courses/bisci004a/nerve/nerveb4.htm

Glial cells, also known as neuroglia, are cells in the nervous system that are not specialised for transmitting electrical signals.

Glia
Glial cells are actually a specialised type of connective tissue cell, and they hold the functioning neurons together and protect them. They include Astrocytes, Oligodendrocytes (which http://www.bmb.psu.edu/courses/bisci004a/nerve/nerveb4.htm produce the CNS myelin sheath), Microglia (CNS macrophages) and Ependymal cells in the CNS, and the Schwann cells in the PNS. They are implicated in some of the most serious central nervous system neoplasia (cancers).

Central Nervous System

Brain

CNS - Brain

http://projects.edtech.sandi.net/brooklyn/humanbody/images/brain.gif

The cerebrum is the largest and most superior part of the brain in man. It features numerous gyri and sulci (or folds and valleys).

CNS - Brain

http://www.neuroscience.pomona.edu/Menu/Brain.JPG

It is divided by a large longitudinal fissure into right and left cerebral hemispheres.

CNS - Brain

http://www.lougehrigsdisease.net/images/brain.jpg

These hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum which comprises vast bundles of connections (myelinated axons).

http://www.ai.mit.ed u/people/ekm/homer -brain.jpg

CNS - Brain

The surface of the cerebrum is made of gray matter. It is called the cerebral cortex. Gray matter comprises nerve cell bodies and dendrites with some glial cells. Inside the cerebrum lies white matter, which is made up of bundles of myelinated nerve axons or tracts.
http://www.csit.fsu.edu/~beason/ph oto2002/hw06/brain.jpg

CNS - Brain

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/functional.html

Specific areas of the cerebral cortex have quite specific functions. For instance, the areas for vision lie in the occipital lobe. Damage to this area can impair or destroy the ability to see.

CNS - Brain

http://www.ling.upenn.edu/undergrad/brain_regions.gif

The areas for auditory function lie in the temporal lobes. General sensory and motor areas are mapped out on the postcentral and pre-central gyri respectively.

CNS - Brain

http://sds1.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/male_brain.gif

Gary Larsen, from: http://www.th.physik.un ifrankfurt.de/~jr/gif/carto on/brain.jpg

CNS - Brain

http://www.astro.univie.ac.at/~dsn/gerald/brain.jpg

Spinal Cord

CNS Spinal Cord

The adult spinal cord is about half a metre long, quite short when you think of the overall length of the body trunk. It lies inside the vertebral column in the spinal canal. The core of the cord consists of gray matter, and the outside is white matter, the opposite of what we find in the cerebrum.
http://www.back.com/anatomy-lumbar.html

CNS Spinal Cord

The white matter comprises bundles of myelinated nerve fibres - spinal tracts - which provide conduction paths to and from the brain. Ascending tracts send information to the brain (sensory), and descending tracts carry information from the brain (motor). The spinal cord provides the link between the CNS and the rest of the body through the PNS. It also provides reflex arcs for rapid control.

CNS Spinal Cord

The spinal cord and the dorsal root ganglia are directly responsible for innervation of the body, except for most of the head and viscera, which are innervated by Cranial Nerves.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

CNS Spinal Cord

Afferent (sensory) fibres enter the cord through the dorsal roots of the spinal nerves, while efferent (motor) fibres leave by way of the ventral roots. This is known as the Bell-Magendie Law.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

CNS Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is a cylindrical structure, slightly flattened dorso-ventrally. It occupies the spinal canal in the vertebral column. Protection is provided by the vertebrae and their ligaments, and by the meninges and a cushion of cerebrospinal fluid.

Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p. 1088

CNS Spinal Cord

The segmented nature of the spinal cord is demonstrated by the presence of 31 pairs of spinal nerves. There is, however, little evidence of segmentation in its internal structure.

http://www.bmb.psu.edu/courses/bis ci004a/nerve/fig17-1.jpg

CNS Spinal Cord

In the spinal cord, the white matter of the cord lies on the outside, and comprises bundles of axons ascending to the brain and brainstem, or descending from the brain and brainstem.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

CNS Spinal Cord

A tract occurs in the central nervous system, and may be thought of as a group of axons that serve a similar function, that are grouped together. It is almost the CNS equivalent of a PNS nerve.

Spinal Cord Grey Matter

As seen in transverse section, the grey matter has a roughly butterflyshaped outline. It contains a small central canal. Dorsal and ventral grey commissures surround the central canal.
Modified from: Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.928

CNS Spinal Cord

The cells of the dorsal horn and the intermediate zone consist mainly of tract cells, and internuncial neurons which receive incoming sensory connections (afferents) from the dorsal root fibres, and connect either on motor cells (for reflex loops), or on tract cells for communication with higher centres. Note particularly, however, the substantia gelatinosa (see next slide). The ventral horn consists mostly of motor cell bodies.

CNS Spinal Cord

Modified from: Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.928

Dorsal Horn

The dorsal horn is where many of the peripheral sensory fibres terminate to connect with other neurons that either ascend to the brain/brainstem or form reflex loops for rapid reactions. As we said previously, the substantia gelatinosa is found here, and it plays a major role in the perception of pain.

Ventral Horn

The efferent, or motor, part of the grey matter is found in the ventral horn.

White Matter

The white matter consists of nerve fibres, neuroglia and blood vessels. Its whiteness is due to the large proportion of myelinated nerve fibres present.

White Matter

Within each funiculus are tracts of fibres, some of which may be ascending, that is taking data to supraspinal levels, descending, or carrying efferent data from higher Modified from: Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37 Ed, 1989, p.930 levels, or intersegmental, which is to say that they consist of tracts of fibres connecting a number of segments.
th

White Matter

A fibre tract is defined as a bundle of fibres having the same origin, termination and function. The origin is the locus of the cell bodies, and the termination is the point at which the fibres synapse with the cell bodies of the next neurons in the chain.

White Matter

Afferent fibres from the dorsal root enter the spinal cord in an area known as the dorsolateral tract because of its relationship to the dorsolateral sulcus.
Modified from: Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.930

White Matter

These fibres give off short ascending and descending branches, and the entire fibre terminates in the substantia gelatinosa of the segment of entry, or the next segment caudally or rostrally. The dorsolateral tract is sometimes known as the Zone of Lissauer.

Meninges

The central nervous system is delicate and vulnerable to damage. It is therefore surrounded and cushioned by a series of membranes and fluid spaces which help absorb mechanical stress. These membranes are called the meninges, and they are, in turn, surrounded by bone.

Meninges

The meningeal layers are, from superficial to deep:


Dura mater Arachnoid mater Pia Mater

Cerebro-spinal fluid CSF circulates in the subarachnoid space.


Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p. 1088

Meninges

CSF circulates in the subarachnoid space. It also fills spaces in the brain that are termed ventricles. CSF is filtered from the blood by the choroid plexus and passes into the ventricles. It then circulates around the spinal cord and brain before returning to the blood system via the arachnoid granulations into the cranial venous sinuses.

Peripheral Nervous System

Somatic or "voluntary" nerve fibres are found in all cranial and spinal nerves. They are motor in function.

Copyright Alex Forrest 2013

Sensory Somatic Fibres

Nerve impulses from exteroceptors and proprioceptors are conducted centrally by primary sensory neurons whose cell bodies are located in the dorsal root ganglia (or a cranial nerve ganglion).

Sensory Somatic Fibres

On entering the spinal cord, the dorsal root fibres divide into ascending and descending branches. These are distributed as necessary for reflex responses and for transmission of sensory data to the brain. They enter the dorsolateral tract of the segment of arrival, or ascend or descend a number of segments before entering this tract. They then synapse with either an internuncial neuron or directly with a tract cell.

Sensory Somatic Fibres

Note that the dorsal root ganglia contain no synapses. They contain only the bodies of the sensory neurons, whose axons pass from the sensory endings. These cells are referred to as primary sensory neurons.

Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

The somatic efferent neurons for the innervation of skeletal muscle are the axons of neurons in the anterior grey column of the spinal cord. Again, only one cell is required to reach the muscle and terminate in a motor end-plate.

Motor Somatic Fibres

A spinal nerve therefore appears to arise from the spinal cord by two roots. The ventral root contains efferent or motor fibres.

Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

The dorsal root contains afferent or sensory fibres, and is associated with a dorsal root ganglion which contains the cell bodies of the primary sensory neurons.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

Shortly after leaving the spinal cord, the two roots unite to form a common spinal nerve which emerges through the intervertebral foramen and immediately divides into a dorsal and a ventral ramus.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

Each ramus will therefore contain both afferent and efferent somatic fibres.

Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

The dorsal rami are usually smaller than the ventral ones, and turn posteriorly to innervate muscles and skin over the posterior regions of the neck and trunk.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

The ventral rami form the major nerve plexuses of the body, and contribute to the nerve trunks seen in most of the body during dissection.
Grays Anatomy, London, Longman, 37th Ed, 1989, p.924

Motor Somatic Fibres

There is no synapse along the length of a somatic efferent peripheral nerve (which emerges in the ventral root), and therefore no somatic ganglion exists on this root.

We will discuss the visceral division of the Peripheral Nervous System in a later session.

Copyright Alex Forrest 2013

Cranial Nerves

There are twelve cranial nerves. They are traditionally numbered using Roman numerals, in the order that they emerge from the brainstem.

Cranial Nerves

I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII

Olfactory Optic Oculomotor Trochlear Trigeminal Abducens Facial Vestibulocochlear Glossopharyngeal Vagus Accessory Hypoglossal

Smells Sees Moves eye Moves eye Eats, feels face Moves eye Moves face, salivates Hears and balances Swallows, feels throat, salivates Speaks, swallows, digests, controls heart Shrugs shoulders, turns head Moves tongue

The End